Each year on the third Thursday in November, the American Cancer Society encourages tobacco users to participate in the Great American Smokeout. This year, the Great American Smokeout is November 19. The goal of this important day is to quit tobacco or begin implementing a quit plan. If you’re a tobacco user, the best step you can take toward your health and wellness is quitting.
Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable deaths worldwide. Nicotine might make you feel good temporarily, but the habit is killing you. It causes cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and many other health risks.
Take Steps Toward Quitting
- Determine a quit date. Choose a day when you will feel most comfortable with quitting. You can choose any day or a date with significance such as the Great American Smokeout, your anniversary, your child’s birthday, etc.
- Establish a quit plan. How do you want to quit? Common methods include: cold turkey, nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs), medication or tapering. Everyone is different and what helps one person might not be your key to success, so make sure to choose the option that is best for you.
- Talk to your doctor. You’ll need to do this if you decide to use medication. It is also a good conversation to have before starting to use NRTs.
- Create a list of healthy things you can do other than using tobacco. Regardless of the method you choose, you need to create this list. NRTs and medication will help alleviate the physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, but the mental triggers will still be present. If you’re tapering or quitting cold turkey, this list becomes even more important. Ideas include: take a walk, start to exercise, chew gum, drink water, talk to a friend, eat a healthy snack, etc.
- Seek support. Having someone you can rely on to talk out your cravings, help acknowledge your successes and troubleshoot any bumps in the road is extremely helpful in successfully quitting tobacco.
- Make a plan to reward yourself. Rewards can be great motivators and help with follow-through. Plus, you’ll be saving money by quitting so you may have some extra cash to spend elsewhere (although rewards don’t have to cost money!).
- Set yourself up for success. Make sure you have everything you need to be successful. Gum, mints, toothpicks, whatever is necessary. Clean up your house, apartment, car and office; make these places free of tobacco paraphernalia. Freshen up everything and try to eliminate anything that will remind you of your tobacco use.
Quitting tobacco can be a challenge. But the more support, information and resources you have available, the greater the chance you have of staying quit.
For Health Advocate Members
If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the coaching feature of our Wellness Program, connect with a Wellness Coach for support and guidance. They’re extensively trained in tobacco cessation to help you quit and stay quit. You can also sign up for our Commit to Quit Tobacco campaign on your Wellness website, available now and ending on November 19th, to learn how to break the habit for good.
If you’re not a Health Advocate member, there are places where you can get support, too! Check out this resource from Smokefree.gov to get free help.