Are you ready to quit smoking? If giving up tobacco is one of your goals, Joanne Ebner, cancer prevention program supervisor at the AAMC Geaton and JoAnn DeCesaris Cancer Institute, says the first step to success is reflecting on how smoking affects you personally.
“I tell people to examine their own habit and dependence,” she says. “What purpose is smoking serving, and what is it getting in the way of? Is it stopping you from doing a certain activity? Getting in the way of your relationships? Disrupting your finances?”
Joanne adds that choosing how you quit is also a personal decision. “Finding out what works for you is important. Don’t get discouraged if something doesn’t work—keep trying.”
If quitting seems overwhelming, Joanne adds that you can work toward quitting by making changes to your habit slowly until you’re ready to quit for good. This can include cutting out one cigarette a week or taking one less smoke break at work.
It’s normal for those trying to quit smoking to experience setbacks. Joanne says to have a back-up way to relieve stress and find methods of motivating yourself if this happens.
“Sometimes it helps to start an exercise program, something as simple as walking, because exercise helps with stress and weight management,” she says. “Others are motivated by tracking their progress.”
Joanne says motivation can also come from rewarding yourself after you meet certain goals. Focus on the benefits you’re feeling right away, whether that is breathing better, lower blood pressure or saving money.
For some people, family and friends can be a source of support and motivation. “Everyone is different. Some people want daily support and recognition and others don’t want anyone to say anything. Tell your family and friends how they can support you,” Joanne says.