If you don’t quit smoking today, tomorrow’s your day. This Thursday, November 21 is the Great American Smokeout, an event created by the American Cancer Society to spur Americans to quit this toxic habit, for one day or forever. I urge all of you to join the ranks of thousands of Americans stamping out their cigarettes tomorrow, hopefully for the last time.
If you’re a smoker, you’re likely no stranger to the idea of quitting. You may have even tried it once, twice, or 10 times. But every hour, day, week you quit counts when it comes to your health, and it often takes many tries to kick the habit for good. Learn more about the many energizing, life-prolonging benefits your body gets from quitting here – you’ll be surprised by how fast recovery kicks in. Plus, quitting is one of the best things you can do to lower your RealAge and feel younger, fast.
Here are some easy and rewarding tips to launch you towards a smoke-free life ASAP:
Tell your friends: Tell your friends and family you’re quitting and ask them to support you. If they’re smokers, ask them not to smoke around you or offer you cigarettes. Gravitate towards your non-smoker friends for a while.
Give yourself a tip jar: Smoking is incredibly expensive. Every day you don’t smoke, put the money you would have spent in a jar and use the savings to indulge in something you really want.
Destroy the evidence: Make a sweep of your house, your car and your office. Throw away all your cigarettes and ashtrays. Vacuum your car and wash your sheets or curtains to try to eliminate the smoke smell that may trigger cravings.
Make a list: Make a list of all the reasons you want to quit. Maybe you don’t want to expose your kids to second-hand smoke. Maybe you want to minimize wrinkles and age spots and keep your teeth white. Post the list anywhere you usually smoke – your kitchen, the dashboard of your car, next to your favorite chair and read through it whenever you feel compelled to light up.
Distract yourself: Many people enjoy the repetitive motion that smoking involves. When you have a craving, give your hands or your mouth something else to do. Chew on gum, carrots or celery and find something fun to fiddle with like a rubber band ball.
Talk to your doctor: Your doctor can be your biggest cheerleader when it comes to quitting, and may be able to prescribe medications or patches that have been shown to help significantly. Alternative therapies like acupuncture may also help.
Go public: If you’re craving a smoke, try going to a public place where smoking isn’t allowed. A healthy restaurant meal, a movie or a nice walk in the park may make you forget your cigarettes altogether.
Draw the line: If you can’t quit cold turkey, try cutting back by drawing a line halfway down your cigarette and throwing out the rest when you burn down to that line. Slowly draw the line closer and closer to the end of the cigarette until you’ve weaned off of them entirely. The less you smoke, the better you’ll feel and the longer you’ll live.
Eat right: Spicy and sugary foods may make cravings worse. Plus, eating more frequent, smaller meals may help keep your blood sugar steady and reduce cravings of all sorts.