S.T.A.R.T. to Quit Smoking

Before you quit, S.T.A.R.T. by following these five important steps:

    S = Set a Quit Date.
    T = Tell Family, Friends, Doctor, And Co-workers You Are Quitting.
    A = Anticipate And Plan For The Challenges You Will Face
    R = Remove Tobacco Related Products from Your Life
    T = Talk to Your Doctor About Getting Help to Quit

Each of these steps are covered in the sections below.

S = Set a Quit Date.

Pick a date within the next the near future on which you will quit smoking. For example, pick a date within the next 2 weeks. This will be your “Quit Date”.

Such a “near future” date gives you enough time to get ready for quitting, without being so far away that you will lose your drive to quit smoking.

If one of the following dates is in the near future, then you could select one of these as your “Quit date”:

    Your birthday or wedding anniversary
    New Year’s Day (January 1)
    Independence Day (July 4)
    World No Tobacco Day (May 31)
    Christmas Eve (Dec 24)

If you smoke at work, then select a quit date that is on a weekend or during leave or a day off, so that you will already be cigarette-free when you return to work.

T = Tell Family, Friends, Doctor, And Co-workers You Are Quitting.

Quitting smoking is easier with the support of others. So, telling your family, friends, and co-workers that you plan to quit will notify them of your intentions so that they can help and support you during the tough times ahead.

Before you quit, it is also a good idea to tell the people you care about what they might expect and exactly how they can help. For example:

    Ask everyone around you to understand you will probably exhibit mood changes (angry, stressed, on edge, etc) but remind them that such moods are only temporary and that the worst will be over within two weeks. Tell them that the longer you go without cigarettes, the sooner you’ll be your old self.

    Does someone close to you also smoke ? If so, then ask them to quit with you, or at least ask them not to smoke around you and not to offer you cigarettes from now on.

    Do you take any medicines ? If so, then tell your doctor and pharmacist that you are quitting smoking. The chemicals in cigarettes, such as nicotine, can change how some medications work. So, you may need to change your prescriptions after you quit.

    Seek support from other people. For example, you can talk to others (on the phone, in person, or via the internet) who are also quitting or have also quit successfully. Such sympathetic support can help smokers quit for good.

A = Anticipate And Plan For The Challenges You Will Face

Expecting challenges and planning for how you will deal with them is an important part of the process of quitting smoking.

Most people who attempt to quit, go back to smoking within three months. So, the first three months after you quit will be the most difficult. You may be tempted to have “one last cigarette” when you are stressed or feeling down, but yielding to such a temptation is a sure-fire way to start smoking again.

It is hard to anticipate these times, but it helps to know when you might need a cigarette most. Your cravings journal should help you anticipate some of these times, and understanding your smoking triggers will also help you anticipate when you might be tempted to smoke.

Prepare and plan for how to deal with these situations and times in advance.

When you quit, you should also expect to feel strange for at least a few weeks and also expect feelings of withdrawal and discomfort, which are all caused by giving up nicotine. You may also feel dull, tense, and not yourself. Such symptoms are your body’s way of telling you that it is learning to be smoke-free.

These feelings may be very strong and uncomfortable, but they will subside with time, usually within a few weeks.
Many people don’t like or cannot handle how they feel after they quit, so they start smoking again to feel better. In fact, most people who attempt to quit smoking slip-up within the first week after quitting and start smoking again, because this is when the feelings of withdrawal are strongest.

R = Remove Tobacco Related Products from Your Life

The next step is to remove ALL tobacco related products from your life, including your home, car, and work place. Such tobacco related products include:

    Ash Trays
    Cigarette Lighters
    Car Ashtray and lighter

Some often smokers save one pack of cigarettes and a lighter “just in case” … Saving even just one cigarette just makes it so much easier to start smoking again.

Also, do not be tempted to switch to other forms of tobacco. Light or low-tar cigarettes are just as harmful as regular cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco, cigars, pipes, and herbal cigarettes can also harm your health.

In addition, it is also important that you fix or get rid of all the things that smell of smoke, have been stained by smoke, or remind you of smoking, such as:

Make things clean and fresh at home, in your car, and at work. Clean your drapes, couch covers, bedding, and clothes, car seat covers, and so on. Hang some pot pouri in your house, car, and work desk – you will enjoy the scent as your sense of smell returns.

Have your dentist clean your teeth to get rid of smoking stains.

T = Talk to Your Doctor About Getting Help to Quit

Quitting “cold turkey” isn’t the only method of quitting smoking. In addition to these methods, you should talk to your doctor about these and any other ways they may recommend to use when attempting to quit.

Most doctors can answer your questions and give useful advice, and in addition, they can suggest medications to help with the symptoms of withdrawal.

Your doctor, dentist, and pharmacist should also point you to places to find support or toll-free Quit Lines.