Staying smoke-free

Break the cycle

At some point you’ll be in a situation that will make you want to smoke. The key to getting through it without smoking is in educating yourself, understanding your triggers and having a plan to overcome them. If you slip up, learn from your mistakes and get back on track.

Stress

Many people say they feel less stressed after smoking. However, nicotine makes you breathe quicker, causes your heart to beat faster, raises your blood pressure, actually putting more stress on your body.

 

The next time stress makes you crave a smoke, take a few deep breaths. Count to 10. Or 100. Listen to music. Just don’t give into the craving by smoking. It’s not worth it.

Boredom

Cigarette cravings are harder to ignore when you don’t have anything else to focus on. But when your mind is occupied, those feelings fade into the background.

 

The best way to get over cigarette cravings is to get on your feet and get moving. Find a healthy new hobby that’ll keep your body and your mind occupied.

Drinking and drugs

When you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs, bad decisions can seem a whole lot better. But before long, all your hard work could go down the drain.

 

The easiest way to avoid smoking while under the influence is to avoid being under the influence in the first place — at least until you feel more confident you won’t smoke. It’ll help you break the association between alcohol or drugs and smoking.

Relaxation

Some people find smoking calming, while others feel more energized or alert. Smoking is a stimulant. It increases your heartbeat, makes you breathe faster, raises your blood pressure, and adds more stress to your body. There’s nothing relaxing about that.

 

Instead of smoking to relax, try yoga. Meditate. Read a book. Watch a movie. Go for a walk. You’ll be amazed how much better you feel than you did after smoking.

After eating or coffee

The reason you crave a cigarette after a meal or a coffee may just be because it’s what you’re used to doing. Reaching for a cigarette is a conditioned response that can be broken.

 

Find a new routine to replace that response. If you want a change of taste, grab a mint or brush your teeth. Or if you need a distraction, get up and go for a short walk.

Breaks at work

For many smokers, work breaks revolve around cigarettes. Now that you’ve quit, it may be hard not to associate the two.

 

Instead of having a smoke, take a short walk. Drink some water. When you feel refreshed, go back to work. You’ll feel better, smell better and you’ll probably be a lot more productive, too.

Other smokers

Seeing your friends smoke might make you want to do the same. But just think: every time your friends smoke and see you’re not joining them, they notice, especially if you let them know you’ve quit. And you never know which of your friends you might be inspiring to quit smoking, too.

 

If you find it too hard to turn down a cigarette, stay away from your friends while they’re smoking. They care about your health and will understand.

Anger

Someone or something got you fired up, and only a smoke will help, right? Wrong. A cigarette won’t make you less angry — it’ll just feed your addiction.

 

Instead, remove yourself from frustrating situations. Take a walk or a few deep breaths. Give yourself time to calm down. You can get through it without smoking.

Change your routine

Most smokers have times and places they associate with smoking. People are creatures of habit, and those daily rituals can be hard to break.

 

For the first little while, it might help to change up your routine a bit. Take a new route to and from work. Wake up at a different time. Do whatever you have to do to distract yourself from your cravings.

Keep track of your cravings

Download the Break It Off app to monitor (and overcome!) any cravings.