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Staying Smoke-FreeThree men sitting on couch watching football on TV. One man is holding up hand to politely refuse cigarette offered by another man.

Quitting smoking is a big change. People will congratulate you. You have the right to be proud. But, at times you may miss smoking. Plan ahead to resist temptation.

Prepare to be tempted

  • If you feel the urge to smoke, distract yourself for about 5 minutes. Drink water. Call a friend, walk around the room, or try deep breathing.

  • Don’t trust yourself to have “just one cigarette.” Many ex-smokers get hooked again that way.

  • Remind yourself why you quit. Tell yourself you can stay quit.

  • Avoid people or places that can trigger you to smoke. Ask others not to smoke in your home or car.

  • Spend time in places where you can’t smoke— a museum, a library, a store, or a gym.

  • Take your nonsmoking life one day at a time. Mark each day on your calendar.

  • HALT your desire. Keep yourself from feeling too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Deal with your real needs. Eat, talk, or sleep.

  • Put aside cigarette money and reward yourself.

If you slip

You may slip and smoke again. Many ex-smokers slip on the way to success. If you do, it’s not the end of your quit process. Think about what triggered you to smoke. Then think of ways to prevent future slips. Ask yourself what you can learn from the slip. Decide how you will handle this trigger better in the future. Then get back on track—right away!

Don’t give up

Keep telling yourself you’re no longer a smoker. Don’t lose hope. Most people have tried to quit several times before being successful. Try to stay focused on your plan to be smoke-free. Keep in mind all the benefits of staying quit. Millions of people have given up smoking. You can too.

Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Online Medical Reviewer: Turley, Ray, BSN, MSN
Last Review Date: 11/17/2014
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