Tips to Help You Quit Smoking and Protect Your Breathing
Drink water – with crushed ice if possible, to help flush the nicotine and other chemicals out of your system faster. This also satisfies the oral craving for a while. Try using a straw with the same diameter as a cigarette.
Deep breathing – this is good for you, as most people do not use their full lung capacity. Take 10 deep breaths, and hold the last one. Exhale slowly. Take a deep breathing break instead of a cigarette break.
Delay – each day, delay lighting your first cigarette by one hour. After the first cigarette, when you have your next craving to smoke, delay for another 15 minutes or half an hour. Remember, as a smoker you were not in control of your addiction; you smoked when your body needed nicotine. Now by delaying, you are calling the shots, you are in control of when you say NO.
Do something different – don’t smoke when you first experience a craving. Wait several minutes, and during this time change your activity or talk to someone. Get out of the situation that makes you want to smoke. For example, if you smoke after dinner, get up from the table and do the dishes, or go for a walk. Change the activity that you normally do while smoking.
Physical activity is necessary, if not imperative – physical activity reminds you with each deep breath you take, how much better your body will be working. Begin to condition yourself physically – start a modest exercise regimen, drink more fluids, get plenty of rest and avoid fatigue.
List all the reasons why you want to quit. Every night before you go to bed, repeat one of the reasons ten times.
Change your eating habits to aid in cutting down. For example, drink milk, which is frequently considered incompatible with smoking. End meals or snacks with something that won’t lead to a cigarette.
Don’t empty your ashtrays – this will not only remind you of how many cigarettes you have smoked each day, but also the sight and smell of the stale butts will be very unpleasant.
Save all of your cigarette butts for one week in one large container as a visual reminder of the filth smoking represents.
Throw away all cigarettes, lighters and matches. Hide (or throw out) ashtrays.
Visit the dentist and have your teeth cleaned to get rid of the tobacco stains. Notice how nice they look, and resolve to keep them that way.
Keep very busy on the big day- your quit day – go to the movies, exercise, take long walks, go bike riding.
Buy yourself a treat, or do something special to celebrate.
The first few days after you quit, spend as much free time as possible in places where smoking is prohibited, e.g., libraries, museums, theatres, department stores, churches, smoke free restaurants, etc.
Until you’re confident of your ability to stay off cigarettes, limit your socializing to healthful, outdoor activities or situations where smoking is prohibited.
If you must be in a situation where you’ll be tempted to smoke (such as cocktail party or dinner party) try to associate with the non-smokers there.
Change your habits to make smoking difficult, impossible, or unnecessary. Try activities such as swimming, jogging, tennis, or handball. Wash your hands or dishes when the desire for a cigarette is intense.
Do things to maintain a clean mouth taste, such as brushing your teeth frequently and using mouth wash.
For access to smoking cessation counselling by our certified respiratory educators, call the Lung Health Information Line at 1.888.344.LUNG (5864).