Once you’ve set your quit date, being prepared for the day will increase your chances of quit success. The first day without cigarettes can be hard, but here are five steps to manage your quit day and have the tools and confidence to stay smoke-free.
Withdrawal on quit day can be intense, so have lots of healthy snacks and gadgets on hand to help with cravings, keep your hands busy and keep you distracted. Here are some common quit supplies:
- Gum or mints
- Cinnamon sticks
- Unsalted sunflower seeds
- Crunchy veggies like carrots and celery
- Herbal or decaffeinated tea
- Stress ball or Rubik’s cube
- Supplies for current or new hobbies like knitting or painting
Quitting aids like nicotine patches, gum and inhalers will greatly reduce the intensity of your cravings, so have these on hand for quit day and beyond.
If using prescription medications like Varenicline or Bupropion, visit your doctor so you can start taking the meds one week before your quit day to build up the level of medication in your body.
Cravings are strongest for the first few days, so keeping busy will help distract you and keep your thoughts off smoking. Here are some activities to help keep busy:
- Go outside for a walk. Breathing in fresh air will help with cravings.
- Get some exercise. Go to the gym, for a bike ride or a run.
- Drink lots of water. Try a glass of cold water as it really helps to cut the cravings!
- Keep your hands busy. Play games on your phone, squeeze a stress ball, play cards, do a puzzle or try juggling!
- Spend time with your non-smoking friends and family. Getting social will keep your mind off of you know what.
Do all those things you’ve been avoiding, like errands, house cleaning, you know the ones!
Try not to let those negative thoughts overtake you. Quitting is hard, and for the first few days you’ll need to take it one hour at a time. But remember, you’ve got this. Try to focus on why you chose to quit in the first place and envision how good you’ll feel when you are smoke-free for good! Think of a positive mantra – like “I will beat this and be smoke-free” - and repeat it over and over when you feel those negative thoughts slipping in.
Triggers include places, people or situations that cause you to want to smoke. Everyone has their own triggers, so know yours and avoid them where possible. Here are some tips for overcoming common triggers:
- Avoid alcohol in the beginning of your quit as it can reduce your resolve to stay quit.
- Avoid caffeine, as it’s a major trigger and can give you the jitters. Try an alternate beverage like tea, juice or water.
- Avoid stressful situations. Stress can trigger an urge to smoke, so try to stay calm and do some deep breathing. Consider yoga or meditation to help you stay relaxed.
- Avoid being around other people who smoke. This might be hard if your family or friends smoke, but ask that they don’t smoke around you and organize activities where people can’t smoke – like going to the movies.
- Avoid sitting around after meals if this is a trigger. Do the dishes, brush your teeth or go for a walk.