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Make a plan to quit smoking

5 Steps of Planning 

Step 1: Decide – cold turkey or quitting aid?   

Withdrawal is common, whether you quit cold turkey or use a quitting aid.

Common withdrawal symptoms are:

Cravings Feeling tired Not able to sleep
Irritability Hunger Feeling low
Anxiety Cough Constipation
Headache Feeling dizzy Not able to concentrate

These symptoms may last 2–4 weeks, though they often get easier after a few days.

If you quit cold turkey, nicotine will be out of your body in about three days. Your withdrawal symptoms may be strong at first, but will get weaker over time. 

If you are worried about this, you may want to consider using a quitting aid to help cut withdrawals. The FDA has approved two types: NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) and non-nicotine pills

Step 2: Set a quit date

Pick a date within the next two weeks.  Plan to quit on that day (or sooner if you like). 

Step 3: Think of the times you will want to smoke – your triggers 

Triggers are times when you'll have a strong urge to smoke. Think of the first day.  Then look ahead to the first week of quitting. Weekday triggers and weekend triggers can be very different, so be sure to think of both.  

Mark in your triggers in the chart below.  

Step 4: Come up with ways to deal with your triggers 

When you want to smoke, how does the cigarette help? Does it fill time? Cut down stress? Help wake you up? Try to think of other things you can do that will help in the same way. For example, when you feel stressed, what could you do instead of smoking? You could take a time-out, get a drink of water, do some deep breathing.

Click here to download the exercise below and save it to your desktop. For each trigger, fill in two or three things you could instead of smoking. If you don't have the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader, click here to download it now for free.

deal-with-triggersStep 5: Get support 

Quitting can be easier with support.  What kind of support works for you?  Think of the people in your life. Who can support you along the way? Ask them if they'll help you out.  Be specific about what you need.

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