Stop Smoking

10 Tips to Stay Quit

The HealthCentral Editorial Team Mar 28th, 2012 (updated May 16th, 2014)
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If you’ve recently become a quitter - as in quitting smoking - then you are probably feeling some of the challenges of staying quit. Here are some tips to help you.

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Distract yourself from cravings
Distract yourself from cravings

When you feel a craving, do something, anything, to distract yourself. Take a short walk, go for a drink of water, make a phone call to a friend

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Remove the evidence
Remove the evidence

Remove all evidence of smoking from your life. If you used to smoke in your car, remove all lighters and matches and clean your car of that old smoky smell.

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Get a teeth-cleaning
Get a teeth-cleaning

Have your teeth cleaned. There is nothing better then having a bright white smile and you can go smile at yourself in the mirror next time you successfully make it through a craving.

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Find oral substitutes
Find oral substitutes

You were used to moving your hand to your mouth perhaps hundreds of times each day in an act that represented comfort. Use a toothpick, or a carrot stick, or a straw to mimic this movement during times of stress. Eventually you will be able to wean yourself from these gimmicks, but you should do whatever it takes to help you get past the desire to relapse.

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Write down reasons for quitting
Write down reasons for quitting

Write down all the reasons you want to quit, and keep adding to it as new ideas come to mind. Refer to this list often throughout the day to remind yourself of your commitment.

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Find a quitting buddy
Find a quitting buddy

If your spouse or significant other smokes, try to quit together. It’s really difficult to quit smoking if people around you are smoking. Of course, the danger in quitting together is that you may well relapse together, but if you are both committed, there can be no stronger support network than someone close to you.

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Stay away from smoky places and smokers
Stay away from smoky places and smokers

Stay away from places where smoking occurs and distance yourself a little from friends who smoke. One day you may be strong enough to be around smokers, but why put yourself in danger? In many ways you are like a recovering alcoholic who should stay away from bars while the cravings are still rampant.

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Save your money
Save your money

Put all the money you would have spent on smoking into a glass jar each night. Watch as that money piles up, and after you reach a comfortable point in your quitting process (which for some people may be six months or more), take yourself out for a shopping spree and get something really cool for yourself or a loved one.

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Tell everyone you've quit
Tell everyone you've quit

Tell everyone around you that you have quit smoking. Realize that some may scoff if they’ve heard it all before, but use that as a challenge to prove them wrong this time. You need to hear that the people around you are rooting for your success, and you can’t get that valuable extra support if you keep your quitting effort to yourself.

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Pat yourself on the back
Pat yourself on the back

Give yourself frequent pats on the back for small successes and don’t feel that one small relapse means you should go back to your old smoking habits. It takes a long time to develop new habits and each day is a new opportunity for a new quit attempt. If you keep at it and keep faith in yourself, you will eventually succeed.