Tips to Help you Become a Non-Smoker

  • Get rid of all your cigarettes. Clean out every ashtray in your home, office and car. Discard your matches and lighter.
  • Take deep breaths whenever you feel the urge to smoke. Hold your breath for ten seconds, then release it slowly. Taking deep rhythmic breaths is not unlike smoking – except that you inhale clean air instead of poisonous gases.
  • Exercise to help relieve tension. Walk instead of driving whenever possible. Take a brief stroll after meals instead of having a cigarette. The brain chemicals released by exercise will help you relax and reduce the cravings for nicotine.
  • Think of any negative image you associate with smoking whenever you want a cigarette. Select your worst memory connected with smoking – like the bad breath, or the wrinkles, or the breathlessness you feel whenever you try to walk briskly.
  • Reward yourself with oral substitutes for cigarettes. Some good healthful examples are sugarless gum, lemon drops, carrot sticks, apple slices and unbuttered popcorn.
  • Eat three meals a day. This habit, which many people neglect, maintains blood sugar levels and curbs the urge to smoke.
  • Go public with your plans to quit. Ask your family and friends to help you from backsliding, not by nagging, but with gentle reminders. Ask them not to smoke around you.
  • Brush your teeth several times each day to get rid of smokers breath.
  • Keep your hands – and mind – busy. Work on a crossword puzzle, knit, do needlework, balance your checkbook, brush the dog, weed the garden.
  • Spend time with friends who don’t smoke. Visit places where smoking is prohibited – a library, theatre or museum.
  • Scramble up your day to change habits connected with smoking. Leave the “scene of an urge” immediately. At home, avoid your “smoking chair” after dinner. Reach for gum rather than a cigarette when you answer the phone.
  • Spend the money you save by not smoking. Put the money you would normally spend on tobacco in a jar and when you have enough go out and treat yourself to something special. You deserve it!
  • Treat yourself kindly. Have a massage or a facial. Take an afternoon nap. Go for a walk in the country. Listen to your favourite music. Appreciate the fact that you don’t have to have a cigarette to have a good time.

Adapted from Cardiovascular Medicine November 1985

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