If you or a loved one is thinking about quitting smoking, you’re already taking a great first step by reading, prepping and gaining as much knowledge as possible. If it was easy, everyone would be able to commit and never look back, but as we know that’s not always the case.

Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals – which is terrible for your body and health – not to mention the effect is has on those around you. Here are 5 steps to quit smoking:

Eliminate Triggers

One of the very first steps to help quit smoking is eliminate all triggers which consists of a thorough cleaning of your house and car. Dispose of any remaining cigarettes, ashtrays, and even the smell of tobacco on furniture and clothes. The sight or smell of cigarettes can easily be a trigger to pick it back up.

Have Support

Once you’ve made the decision to quit smoking make sure you have a good support system. Lean on positive people who want the same outcome for you, or friends/family that have gone through the process and can give advice. There are also apps and text message programs that are helpful.

Wait it Out

A craving to smoke lasts about 5 minutes – during that time, grab a drink, call a friend or family member, step outside, or browse the TV. Do something that can distract you for the timing being and once those 5 minutes have passed think about how easy the next craving will be to manage. It will only get easier.

Additional options to wait it out and stay busy:

  • Chew gum or candy
  • Keep your hands busy with a pen or toothpick
  • Exercise
  • Relax with deep breathing and meditation

Rework your Schedule

At this point you are most likely accustomed to a schedule with built in smoke breaks or times you know you are going to want to grab a cigarette. If you usually have a cigarette right before breakfast be aware and rework this part of your day. You can instead take a shower first thing in the morning or a quick 10-minute walk outside. If your smoke break at work is usually at 2 p.m., be prepared to have a different plan. Grab a snack or ask a co-worker to head to the break room for a distraction.

Be Patient and Stay Positive

Quitting is difficult. Take it one day at a time and try not to think about it as quitting forever, but make the effort each morning to quit that day and eventually the addiction will subside. Reward yourself once you’ve hit milestones – whether that’s a week without smoking, a month or even a year! You can do it!

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