1. If you’re smoking menthol cigarettes, you will find it less difficult to quit if you first wean yourself off the menthol before you can quit the nicotine. Stop buying menthol and start buying regular cigarettes instead. Smoke regular cigarettes from about a month before trying to start quitting all together.
2. Even if you don’t smoke menthols, take about a month to evaluate your smoking patterns. Keep a journal and write down what you discover about these patterns. How many cigarettes do you smoke each day? One pack? Two? More? When do you smoke? Do you smoke first thing in the morning? Do you smoke after meals? Do you like to have a cigarette with your coffee? Do you like to smoke when you’re out with friends? Why do you smoke? Are you smoking this particular cigarette because it’s just a habit or is there some precipitating factors? Are you bored? Are you anxious? Are you smoking so that you have something to do with your hands? Knowing when and why you smoke will help provide insight into the strategies that will work for you to have victory over the psychological addiction of smoking.
3. Now that you are off the menthol and know how much, when and why you smoke, now you can begin developing your strategies for quitting. The first thing that I suggest you do isn’t to quit the physical addiction by going cold turkey or using a quitting smoking aid such as the patch or gum, I suggest that you begin cutting down on the number of cigarettes that you smoke each day by dealing with the psychological problem first. One strategy I highly discourage is substituting cigarettes with smokeless tobacco which is even more addictive and harmful than smoking. If you’ve ever seen a picture of a person who has throat or mouth cancer because of smokeless tobacco use, you will know why I strongly advise using other methods.
4. Here are some strategies for cutting cigarette consumption:
a) Delay the first cigarette of the day for as long as you can. If you’re used to getting your first cigarette as soon as your feet hit the floor in the morning, delay it until after you’ve had your shower and have brushed your teeth.
b) Make it a point to no longer smoke in the house. Smoke out on the porch rather than in the comfort of your easy chair.
c) If having something in your mouth is part of your psychological addiction, keep a bottle of water handy and drink that whenever possible. Have carrot or celery sticks available to munch on rather than something like candy or other high calorie food. Munching on a celery stick is a great alternative to smoking while driving. d) If having something to do with your hands is an issue, take up a hobby that involves using your hands. When I quit smoking I took up needlepoint. Knitting and crocheting are good also.
5. After you have used the strategies mentioned above to cut cigarette consumption for at least a month, it is time to decide to break the physical addiction to the cigarettes by going cold turkey or you may decide to use the patch or gum or some other smoking cessation aid. One choice is as good as any other. Here are some strategies to help you once you’ve decided to stop using cigarettes.
a) When you do quit smoking, friends who smoke will usually respect the fact that you’re quitting and will try not to smoke in front of you. If however, they do insist, you might want to re-evaluate whether this person is really your friend.
b) It is always advisable to avoid stress but what I have discovered is that stressful situations usually seem to present themselves whenever we are trying to make changes so it’s a good idea to anticipate these stressful moments I have discovered a technique that works for me whenever stress is an issue and I really badly want a cigarette, I use the delay technique. I tell myself that I can put off that next cigarette for now. I simply refuse to light that next cigarette right now. So far I have put off lighting that next cigarette for almost twenty years. It will have been twenty years February 14, 2011 since I smoked my last cigarette and I haven’t regretted each time I’ve made that decision.