Most tobacco users want to quit. Approximately seven out of ten smokers want to stop but may have to try an average of six to nine times before they succeed. The effort may take years because smoking is such a tough addiction to beat, according to Susan Jung, ANP-C and Ruth Golladay, PA-C of Cleveland Clinic’s Tobacco Treatment Center.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a cigarette smoker, a cigar smoker or a tobacco chewer. Quitting tobacco is one of the most important things you’ll ever do.
In 2011 alone, more than 1,200 adults and teenagers enrolled in the Tobacco Treatment Center, which helps people of all ages and backgrounds free themselves from nicotine dependence using the “S.M.A.R.T.” quit method outlined below:
S is for Strategy
Research shows that counseling and the use of various treatment options double the chances of beating nicotine addiction for good versus quitting “cold turkey.”
Use a program tailored for your success, because there is no magic pill to help you quit. Most tobacco users don’t plan to fail but fail to plan.
Having a plan in place will help with the challenge of quitting and staying tobacco-free.
M is for Motivation
For many, the motivation for quitting is a personal one varying from a financial burden to health issues and even just the nuisance of smoking.
Even though your motivation will wax and wane, make a pact with yourself to keep trying.
Once you realize your motivation, you decide when you want to quit.
A is for Awareness
Learn all you can about nicotine addiction and withdrawal, and your personal triggers. This is key — especially after you quit — so that you can deal with challenges without relapsing.
Nicotine addiction is real, and it involves both physical and behavioral factors. When you understand both of those aspects, your chances of success are higher.
R is for Reasons
Compare the pros and cons of tobacco use to identify your top reasons for quitting.
For example, within 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure and pulse rate will normalize, as will the oxygen and carbon monoxide levels in your blood. Within 24 hours, your risk of heart attack will decrease. These health benefits will just keep adding up after you break the tobacco habit.
T is for a Tobacco-Free Life
Set a quit date and then commit to living without tobacco. Typically, ex-smokers remember the ‘good times’ when they used to smoke. Instead, look straight ahead and never see smoking as an option in your life.