First of all, write down all the reasons you want to stop
For the sake of your family? To save money? Improve your health? The reasons will quickly add up. Keep this list somewhere handy as a reminder if you are tempted to have a cigarette.
Set a quit date
Pick a date that doesn’t clash with anything stressful .. and stick to it.
Tell everyone that you are giving up smoking
Ask friends and family to be supportive and not to smoke around you. Wherever possible, try to get them to quit at the same time. A team effort may be easier than going it alone.
Throw away anything to do with smoking
All cigarettes, matches, ashtrays, lighters .. remove from your home, workplace, and car any temptation to smoke.
Keep a diary for the first few days
The hardest part of quitting is the first three or four days, as you go through the toughest nicotine withdrawal stages. Make notes of times and places when the cravings are hardest to deal with. Most smokers will have associated times and places when they always smoked, like after eating or with a drink in the pub. Try to avoid these situations at first .. or simply change your routine, for example, go for a short walk immediately after a meal. If you smoke when you are anxious, try taking a few slow deep breaths of fresh air to relax. Replace negative habits with positive ones!
Drink lots of water
As a general rule, you will always feel better overall by keeping yourself hydrated. Water also helps to flush residual nicotine out of the body and eases some of the nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
Be prepared for withdrawal symptoms and smoker’s cough
When you first stop smoking, your body will react to the sudden absence of nicotine. Withdrawal symptoms, such as mood swings, lack of concentration, fatigue, insomnia, headaches, and increased appetite, tend to peak after 12-24 hours, and then gradually ease over 2-4 weeks. Most people will experience some of these symptoms but very rarely all of them.
Anticipate a cough. It is normal for a ‘smoker’s cough’ to get worse when you first stop smoking, as the airways ‘come back to life. Some people say this makes them feel worse for a while after stopping smoking, and they even consider smoking again. Resist this temptation! The cough will gradually ease and then will go away completely.
Reward yourself regularly!
Smoking is an expensive habit .. and you’ll soon reap the financial benefits of quitting. Use the money you would have spent on cigarettes on treats .. a new outfit perhaps .. a night on the town .. or book an extra holiday. Go ahead and spoil yourself!
Don’t despair if you fail
Examine the reasons why you felt it was difficult to quit this time. It will make you stronger on your next attempt. Remember .. it’s not unusual to relapse. On average, people who eventually stop smoking have made three or four previous attempts.
Once you’ve quit, do everything you can to stick with it. Remind yourself of the many benefits of being a non-smoker .. and hang in there!