5 S.M.A.R.T. Tips for Quitting Tobacco

One of the most important things you’ll ever do

Crushed cigarette pack

Most tobacco users want to quit. Approximately seven out of 10 smokers want to stop but may have to try an average of six to nine times before they succeed.

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Tobacco is a tough addiction to beat. But whether you’re a cigarette smoker, cigar smoker or tobacco chewer, quitting tobacco is one of the most important things you’ll ever do, according to Ruth Golladay, PA-C of Cleveland Clinic’s Tobacco Treatment Center

She offers helpful tips for quitting — using the “S.M.A.R.T.” 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.

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If you are motivated to quit, talk to a doctor or tobacco treatment specialist. Breaking the habit can be hard, and many people need help doing it.

M is for Motivation

For many, the motivation for quitting is personal — relieving a financial burden, improving health issues or even just overcoming the nuisance of smoking. Once you identify your motivation — or motivations — you decide when you want to quit. And even if your motivations wax and wane, make a commitment to keep trying. Few succeed on the first try.

A is for Awareness

Learn all you can about nicotine addiction and withdrawal, and especially about your own personal triggers — stress, for example. Identifying these triggers up front will help you 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.

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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 stop thinking of smoking as an option in your life.

If you are motivated to quit, talk to a doctor or tobacco treatment specialist. Breaking the habit can be hard, and many people need help doing it.