If you are a teen who smokes and wants to quit or the parent of a teen who smokes and wants to quit, then you’re probably feeling the pressure of the task ahead. Quitting smoking is certainly no easy feat, but previous smokers have taught us that the earlier you start trying to quit, the easier it will be. On the other hand, the longer you put it off, the more engrained the addiction will be in your life and the harder it will be to kick the habit. Before you try to quit, understand that it is possible. It’s been done by many, many people before you, and you can join their ranks if you remain positive, keep your will strong, and follow the tips below:
Establish a set date.
Quitting smoking can be scary, no matter how much you want to do it. It helps, though, if you establish a concrete quitting date. Stopping an addictive substance like cigarettes is going to involve reworking several parts of your life, and it’s okay to give yourself time to come to terms with the idea. Set a date a few days, a week, or even two weeks in the future to start the quitting process. However, it is extremely important that you stick to your date no matter what. Avoid making excuses to push the date back (“Well, I’m going to a party on Friday, and I know I’ll want to smoke, so I’ll just quit after this weekend instead.”) because delaying the quit date could result in you smoking for weeks or even months longer than you wanted. Also, allowing yourself to push back your quitting date only reinforces the bad habit of breaking promises to yourself.
Make your plans known.
This is a time-tested and proven strategy for accomplishing a new task. People often use this method when they want to lose weight, and it works just as well for smoking. Tell your friends and family about your plans to quit, and put your intentions in writing. This step is just as simple as it sounds, but it is an important and effective way to convince yourself that you’re serious about quitting. Knowing that your loved ones are counting on you to follow through on your plans acts as additional incentive for you to trash your cigarettes.
Avoid your triggers.
Before you quit, take the time to evaluate your triggers. These are things that you’ll need to avoid as much as possible, especially for the first few weeks after you quit. Your triggers will be unique to you, but common smoking triggers include:
- Finishing a meal
- Riding in a car
- Being around other smokers
- Taking breaks at work
- Sitting in the smoking section at restaurants
- Drinking alcohol
Obviously, you won’t be able to avoid all your triggers all the time, but it’s a good idea to make substitutions whenever possible. For example, if you know that you usually smoke a cigarette on the car ride to school, consider riding the bus or getting a ride from a non-smoker friend or parent instead. If you crave a cigarette after finishing a meal, find something else to occupy your mind for the strongest part of your craving. Reading a book, drinking a cup of tea, or even doing sit-ups or some other form of exercise are all examples of things you can do to ward off your craving during this time. You’ll just need to find what works for you. If you have the desire to quit smoking, then you’re already on your way to being cigarette-free. You will need to take the necessary steps to prepare for quitting, such as making your intentions public and deciding on a concrete date, and you will also need to do everything possible to avoid your trigger situations. Just remember that quitting smoking is not only entirely possible; it’s also one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.