Cigarettes - tips on how to quit

Alternative names
Smoking - tips on how to quit; Smoking cessation


Below, some tips to help you quit smoking are listed. First and foremost, set a quit date and quit COMPLETELY on that day. To prepare for that day:

  • Identify the times you are most likely to smoke. For example, do you tend to smoke when feeling stressed? When you are out at night with friends? While you are drinking coffee? When you are bored? While you are driving? Etc.  
  • Keep a diary to help you determine such risky times. Record each time you have a cigarette, including time of day and what you are doing.  
  • Make a plan about what you will do instead of smoking at those times that you are most likely to smoke. For example, drink tea instead of coffee; tea may not trigger the desire for a cigarette. Or, take a walk when feeling stressed. Remove ashtrays and cigarettes from the car. Place pretzles or hard candies there instead. Pretend smoke with a straw.  
  • Let all of your friends, family, and co-workers know of your plan to stop smoking and your quit date. Just being aware that they know can be a helpful reminder and motivator.  
  • Prior to your quit date, start reducing your cigarette use, including decreasing the number and strength of the cigarettes. DON’t do this simply to make your diary “look good,” however.  
  • Get rid of all of your cigarettes just prior to the quit date and clean out anything that smells like smoke, such as clothes and furniture.

Other tips that can help you quit and stay quit include:

  • Enroll in a smoking cessation program (hospitals, health departments, community centers, and work sites frequently offer programs).  
  • Ask your health care provider for help, including whether prescription medications (such as bupropion - Zyban or Wellbutrin) are safe and appropriate for you.  
  • Find out about nicotine patches, gum, and sprays.  
  • Try hypnosis which works for some people.  
  • Avoid smoke-filled settings and situations in which you are more likely to smoke.  
  • Exercise to relieve urges to smoke.

The American Cancer Society is an excellent resource for smokers who are trying to quit, and the Great American Smokeout can serve as a useful catalyst for some smokers.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 2, 2012
by Arthur A. Poghosian, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.