Prepare To Quit
Your chances of quitting tobacco are much better when you have a plan.
This section will walk you through how to get on the path to a successful quit.
Get Ready to Quit
Some simple things you can do ahead of time—even right now!—to help increase your chances of success include:
- Getting rid of tobacco items in your home, such as ashtrays, lighters and extra packs of cigarettes or e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff or vaping supplies
- Cleaning your home and car so the smell of cigarettes won’t tempt you once you quit
- Using a patch for a week leading up to your quit date to reduce nicotine withdrawal (learn more about free patches from 802Quits)
- Asking for support from coworkers, friends and family members to help you succeed
Everyone who quits tobacco does so for a reason. For some people, it’s not wanting to feel left out when all of their friends have quit. For others, it’s for health or family or because of the rising cost of tobacco. What’s your reason?
Write down your reasons to quit smoking or using other tobacco products.
- Think of as many as you can, big or small
- Set the list aside for a few days
- Then, go through and pick the top five reasons
Keep your list with you and place a copy on your refrigerator or front door. When the urge to use tobacco hits, your list of reasons to quit will help your craving pass and remind you of the great choice you’ve made.
Learn Why You Use Tobacco
Even though you want to quit, there are two reasons that can make it hard:
- Because tobacco use is highly addictive and therefore not just a habit, you have a physical need for nicotine. You experience nicotine withdrawal when you go too long without a cigarette or an e-cigarette, chewing tobacco, snuff or vape. Your body “tells” you this when you get a craving. The craving goes away once you satisfy the addiction by lighting up or using another form of tobacco. Get ready to deal with this by adding free patches, gum and lozenges or other quit medications to your plan.
- You may be addicted to the act of using tobacco. As your body was developing a physical need for nicotine, you were teaching yourself to smoke, chew or vape, and training yourself to use tobacco in many different situations. These situational cues can be overcome if you prepare for them beforehand. Knowing how you would like to deal with triggers like those listed below before you face them as a non-smoker will help you feel confident.
- Finishing a meal
- Drinking coffee or alcohol
- Talking on the telephone
- Taking a break
- During times of stress, an argument, disappointment or negative event
- Driving or riding in the car
- Being around friends, co-workers and other people who smoke or use other tobacco products
- Socializing at parties
What triggers your urge to use tobacco? Write your triggers down and think about the best way to handle each of them. Strategies can be simple, such as avoiding certain situations, having gum or hard candy with you, substituting a hot tea or chewing on ice, or taking several deep breaths.
Delaying is another tactic. As you’re preparing to quit, think about when you usually have your first smoke, chew or vape of the day and try to delay that for as long as you can. Even delaying by a short amount of time, and lengthening that every day up to your quit date, can reduce cravings. For tips and ideas on how to deal with these triggers, check out How to Stay Quit.