[This story was written by Anne Lawton, RN, a Nationally Certified Tobacco Treatment Professional and community outreach nurse, St. Peter’s Health Partners.]
The New York State Department of Health reported in 2018 that 66 percent of smokers consider quitting every year, but only 6 percent achieve success on their own. The nicotine found in tobacco products is very addictive, making quitting smoking very challenging. You know you want to quit, but maybe you don’t know how. I have a few tips that will increase your chances of success.
First, ask yourself why you want to quit and write the list of reasons down on a piece of paper. This will serve as a foundation for your quit journey. Consult your calendar and pick a quit date within the month, post it where you can see it frequently, and start building your quit plan.
Take steps to learn about nicotine replacement therapy or prescription drugs that may help you quit by contacting your primary care physician or a tobacco treatment specialist. Find a support, educational, or tobacco cessation group to join. The NYS Quitline (1-866-697-8487 or visit www.nysmokefree.com) can help you find resources, talk to you about nicotine replacement therapies and sometimes even provide them at no cost to you.
Learning to decrease your stress prior to your quit date will be beneficial. Add exercise to your daily routine to increase your overall health and decrease your stress. Other ways to decrease your stress levels would include deep breathing or meditation, yoga, massage therapy, and counseling.
Pick up your nicotine replacement or prescription medication and have it ready to go for your quit day. Don’t wait for a perfect time to stop – use the date you picked and just do it.
Cravings are a big concern for many and incorporating the 6 D’s can help curb them:
- Delay smoking by 5 minutes, most cravings will go away in 3 to 5 minutes.
- Distract yourself.
- Dial a friend for support.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Do something – it can be exercise or a fun activity.
- Deep breathing.
My final piece of advice, don’t give up. Help is a phone call away. By calling your physician, the NYS Quitline or a specialist, you are taking a big step forward in your quest to become tobacco free.
The Butt Stops Here is Virtual!
Taught by a certified tobacco specialist, these seven-week, free online classes can be accessed from your workplace or the comfort of your home.
Classes begin December 2 and December 5 (please only register for one session). To register, visit https://www.sphp.com/classes-and-events/the-butt-stops-here—virtual-program
If you have further questions or concerns, please call Anne Lawton at 518-525-1827.