Helping People Quit Smoking For FREE Since 2002

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DAMPEN THE URGE...

How to dampen that urge

 

There are seven major coping skills to help you fight the urge to smoke. These tips are designed for you, the new nonsmoker, to help you nurture the nonsmoking habit.

1. Think about why you quit - Go back to your list of reasons for quitting. Look at this list several times a day - especially when you're hit with an urge to smoke. The best reasons you could have for quitting are very personally yours, and these are also your best reasons for staying a nonsmoker.

2. Know when you're rationalizing - It's easy to rationalize yourself back into smoking (see "Common Rationalizations"). Don't talk yourself into smoking again. A new nonsmoker in a tense situation may think, "I'll just have one cigarette to calm myself down." If thoughts like this pop into your head, stop and think again! You know better ways to relax - nonsmokers' ways, such as taking a walk or doing breathing exercises.

Concern about gaining weight may also lead to rationalizations. Learn to counter thoughts such as "I'd rather be thin, even if it means smoking." Remember that a slight weight gain is not likely to endanger your health as much as smoking would (cigarette smokers have about a 70-percent higher rate of premature death than nonsmokers). And review the list of healthy, low-calorie snacks that you used when quitting.

3. Anticipate triggers and prepare to avoid them - By now you know which situations, people, and feelings are likely to tempt you to smoke. Be prepared to meet these triggers head on and counteract them. Keep using the skills that helped you cope in cutting down and quitting:

Keep your hands busy - doodle, knit, type a letter. Avoid people who smoke; spend more time with nonsmoking friends.

Find activities that make smoking difficult (gardening, washing the car, taking a shower). Exercise to help knock out that urge; it will help you to feel and look good as well.

Put something other than a cigarette in your mouth. Chew sugarless gum or nibble on a carrot or celery stick.

Avoid places where smoking is permitted. Sit in the nonsmoking section in restaurants, trains, and planes.

Reduce your consumption of alcohol, which often stimulates the desire to smoke. Try to have no more than one or two drinks at a party. Better yet, have a glass of juice, soda, or mineral water with a celery stick to nibble on.

4. Reward yourself for not smoking - Congratulations are in order each time you get through the day without smoking. After a week, give yourself a pat on the back and a reward of some kind.

Examples of fun rewards include