Seven Tips to Successfully Quit Smoking in the New Year

(December 15, 2011)

 As 2011 comes to a close, we think about making lasting positive changes in our lives to usher in the New Year.  This holiday season, countless Americans will make the New Year’s resolution to quit smoking in 2012.  Are you one of them? 

While quitting smoking is extremely difficult—six out of 10 smokers require multiple quit attempts to stop smoking—preparing a quit-smoking plan can greatly improve a person's chance for success. 

“Quitting smoking is the single most important step smokers can take to improve their health,” said Harold Wimmer, President and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest. “The start of a fresh New Year is a great time for smokers to implement their plan to quit smoking—and reap the health and financial benefits of a smokefree lifestyle.”

What can you do to prepare?

Here are seven proven tips and resources from the American Lung Association that have helped thousands of people give up smoking for good:

  1. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the various types of treatments and different over-the-counter and prescription medications that are available to help you quit smoking.
  2. Look into the different options available to help smokers quit. Visit www.lung.org/stop-smoking or call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) to speak to a registered nurse or respiratory therapist free of charge.
  3. Take time to plan. Pick your quit date a few weeks ahead of time and mark it on the calendar. If you can, pick a day when life's extra stresses are not at their peak, such as after the holidays. Mark a day on the calendar and stick to it.  As your quit day approaches, gather the medications and tools you need and map out how you are going to handle the situations that make you want to smoke.
  4. Get some exercise every day. Walking is a great way to reduce the stress of quitting. Exercise is proven to not only combat weight gain but also to improve mood and energy levels.
  5. Identify your "triggers" - what are the emotions, times of day, habits or social situations that make you want to reach for a cigarette. Identifying them can help you stop the craving or replace it with a healthier habit.
  6. Eat a balanced diet, drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep.
  7. Ask family, friends and co-workers for their help and support. Having someone to take a walk with or just listen can give a needed boost.

“Smokers don’t have to go it alone when they attempt to quit smoking,” added Wimmer. “In fact, research shows that people who develop a support system have greater success in quitting for good, compared to those who try to quit "cold turkey."”