I quit smoking 5 weeks ago. I’m not in the clear, but I’m through the roughest patches. I’m using the patch and plan on using it for the entire 12 weeks. I usually stop using the patches when I no longer crave them, which is probably why all those attempts don’t last.
I have successfully quit 4 times for longish periods (over a year), but stress always brings me running back to the gas station for a pack. Here are the best tips and tricks I’ve used in the past (and am currently using) to help quit smoking!
I honestly couldn’t imagine quitting without patches. I bow down to anyone who does it cold turkey. I find the patches itch a ton, but sometimes the itchiness takes my mind away from the cravings and wanting to rip people’s heads off, so there’s that!
2. Take a walk after dinner
The after-dinner smoke is my absolute worst craving/habit. I switched it out by going for a walk around the block. I enjoy the walk and look forward to it because my family takes turns walking with me. This gives me 20 min to hang out with some of my favourite people, and my teens catch me up on their gossip.
3. Clean up and rearrange/repurpose your smoking area
I always smoked on my deck. So I rearranged the deck, threw my ashtray out, added some more cute decor and flowers, and now when I wake up I sit on my deck with a cup of coffee. This also substitutes my morning smoke. This is easier for me though as I never drank coffee and smoked at the same time, so I don’t associate the two together. Also, I have started eating my breakfast on the deck when I can, so I’m now associating the deck with eating, which is something I don’t associate smoking with.
Side note: Clean out your car too! Vacuum it thoroughly and add a great air freshener. You’ll love entering your car and it’s clean and smelling great!
On top of my after-dinner walk, I work out at the house. Exercising puts me in a positive mindset and helps me to visualize a different, more healthy lifestyle than what I’m giving up.
Side note: For me, the hardest part of quitting smoking is I can’t imagine myself not smoking. I mentally have to visualize how much better my life will be without smoking. I also have to keep pointing out how it’s getting better.
Straws help! It gives the motion of smoking as they’re about the same size and drinking out of them is the same motion as inhaling a cigarette. I have this tumbler that I carry around constantly full of water. Drinking tons of water also helps.
6. Skin care
Your skin is going to drastically get better when you quit smoking. Between the lack of poison from the cigarettes and the tons of water, I’m drinking, I look 5 years younger! I’ve doubled down on my skincare routine to help keep my skin looking better.
7. Stay away from smokers
Working in construction I find this hard. My husband doesn’t smoke and none of my friends smoke either, so that’s super easy for me, but work is HARD! When you work in construction, people smoke everywhere. It’s constantly around me. I took the first week off of work because of this. I’ve told a ton of people I’m quitting and honestly, most smokers are super supportive, so they’ve been great staying away from me.
8. Don’t drink
Stay away from drinking for a bit. I’m quitting in the summer and this has been extremely hard for me. I had a beer with my lunch on Canada Day, and that went fine; but, then I shared a bottle of wine with my husband on a date, and that didn’t go so well. So I recommend staying away from alcohol for a while.
9. Keep your pack
I refuse to throw my pack away. Every time I walk past it I CHOOSE not to smoke. This helps me feel more in control. I have spent most of my life worrying about how many smokes I have (Do I need to go to the store? will I have enough till tomorrow? How many packs do I need to go on vacation?, etc.) so I find not having the pack gives me extreme anxiety and it’s all I can think about. My son threw my pack away when I was in week 2 of not smoking. The second I realized it was missing I started to panic and instantly craved a cigarette. So now my pack has a note on it asking no one to throw it away so I can stay in control of choosing not to smoke.
10. Be forgiving of set backs
I have absolutely had a couple of smokes. When I do, I feel so disappointed in myself. My husband is amazing and reminds me I’ve been doing this for the majority of my life so it’s okay to have a setback, as long as I don’t throw in the towel after, and continue smoking.
If you have any suggestions on what you’re doing, I would love to hear about them in the comment section! I can use all the tips I can get!