This is a complicated and often frustrating endeavor, but with some good advice and helpful tips it can be made much easier. Here are some tips on how to stop smoking.
1. Know why you want to quit. It's very important to identify what you want to accomplish with quitting – is it because someone else thinks you should? Is it for financial reasons? Maybe you are concerned for your physical health or the health of your family. Whatever your reason is, identify it and own it. Remembering why you are quitting can help you when you come to difficult points in the process.
2. Do it gradually. It is a rare few who can quit "cold turkey" and stay that way. Quitting all at once increases your chances for a relapse.
3. There's no shame in using nicotine substitutes like patches or gum. (Don't use these at the same time as smoking, however.) Some people find the gum especially helpful as it gives their mouths something to do and is particularly helpful after meals.
4. Consider electronic cigarettes as part of your quitting regimen. Many people find these provide the oral satisfaction of smoking and the visual effect of the smoke itself. But it's harmless water vapor that is produced.
5. Get support from family and friends. There is nothing quite like a friend or family member "cheerleading" you on and helping you over the humps. Make sure you have at least one person who will hold you accountable – someone you can call when you have a craving who will come over and take you for a walk, for example.
6. Get support from your doctor, too. If you are having a particularly hard time quitting, your doctor can prescribe a medication to help. He or she can also encourage your efforts with regular check-ups that will show improved lung and heart function.
7. Exercise to ward off cravings. Remember the friend or family member who is going to take you for a walk when you get a craving? This is a good idea. Get a bike, join a gym, learn a martial art, get a treadmill – whatever it takes so that when you have a craving you can jump into the exercise. This will also help offset any weight gain you might experience as you try to quit.
8. Avoid environments where there are other smokers, and where you used to smoke. If you used to hang out and smoke at your neighborhood bar, don't go there anymore. This doesn't mean you can't go out – just find a new place that your brain does not associate with smoking.
9. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. This is not only good for you, but it is said that the fruits and veggies will actually make the cigarettes taste worse.