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What is Involved in Quitting?

Tips to include in your quit smoking plan

  • Gain support from friends and family.
  • two women talking
  •  Tell friends and family when you plan to quit.
  • Make sure you are not under more stress then usual when you pick your quit date.
  • Pick someone you trust and can count on to be your main support person.
  • If you have friends that smoke, ask them not to smoke around you.
  • Avoid tempting situations that may trigger you to want to smoke.
  • Keep track of when and what you are doing when you crave a cigarette because these will be your triggers to avoid when quitting.
  •  Practice different coping mechanisms (e.g. deep breathing, going for a walk).
  • Try substituting cigarettes for healthy alternatives (e.g. carrots or sugar-free gum).
  • Remove triggers from your home & car (e.g. lighters & ashtrays).
  • Clean your car and home and consider keeping them both smoke-free.

When cravings occur, remember the 4 D’s  

  • Drink water.
  • Delay smoking for 10 minutes because a craving lasts only as long as it takes to smoke one cigarette.
  • Do something else to distract yourself from the craving.
  • Deep breathe (breathe in through the abdomen and up into the lungs and repeat)

**Smoking does not reduce stress as many may think; it actually increases your stress response by increasing your pulse and blood pressure.

Plan to reward yourself for each short-term goal you reach. Quitting smoking should be recognized and celebrated.

Discuss your decision to quit smoking with your doctor and/or pharmacist. There are medications available to help you with your addiction to nicotine. Discuss what supports fit your plan the best.

Why do you smoke?

Addiction: Nicotine is the addictive part of tobacco. Withdrawal symptoms from nicotine can include irritability, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia and fatigue.
For many people these symptoms diminish within a few days to a couple of weeks; each person is different.  For help speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

Learned behaviour: While changes in the brain and body are a big part of the addiction, they do not tell the whole story. Smoking is also a learned behaviour.

For example, in one year, a one-pack a day smoker will take more than 70,000 puffs from a cigarette. You begin to learn and relate things such as the way you hold or light a cigarette with the pleasant feelings or sense of relief it brings (Centre of Addiction and Mental Health, 2007).

Personalized tips for quitting

There are many reasons that people smoke and every person is unique. Knowing why you smoke will help you in developing your quit plan.




The nicotine may stimulate you. You may feel that smoking gives you a boost, helps you wake up and/or keeps you on your toes.

You might like to handle the cigarette. You will need to find other ways to keep your hands busy.

You may smoke when you are worried, tense or nervous. You may feel smoking helps you deal with stress.

When quitting, you may want to introduce exercise to perk up. Try taking a brisk walk. Start your day with a shower to wake up. Try a crossword puzzle, or a new healthy recipe to stimulate your mind.

Suggestions: Try doodling on a pad of paper and/or, playing with a straw, coin or smooth stone. Carrying a water bottle and drinking water each time you have a craving may also help. Keep busy by texting your friends and family. Take up a new hobby or craft.

When you quit you will want to plan for those tough times with alternative stress reducers like deep breathing, sipping on a warm drink, listening to music, meditation, yoga etc.




You realize the health effects and concerns, but you still like to smoke. You could associate smoking with pleasurable situations and events.

If you “need” a cigarette within the first 30 minutes of waking up and it is very tough to go more than an hour without a cigarette you may have a stronger addiction to nicotine.

For you, smoking may be automatic; there may be times when you do not realize you have a cigarette in your hand. There may be certain times and situations that you are used to smoking (e.g. talking on the phone, with a coffee).

Find alternatives that give you pleasure. Spend time with friends and do something else you enjoy more frequently. Keep a money jar and every time you would buy a pack of cigarettes, put that money in the jar to save for something to reward yourself.

Consider talking to your doctor or pharmacist about nicotine replacement therapies available to you (e.g., nicotine patch, gum, lozenge and/or inhaler). Try taking a hot shower as soon as you wake up to delay and beat that initial craving (Remember the 4 D’s).

You may need reminders of why you are quitting. Put encouraging and positive sticky notes in the places where you used to smoke to keep yourself on your quit plan. Post your personal reasons for quitting on the fridge, in the car etc.

Some common Danger Zones to plan for:

Alcohol is a big trigger for many people. Try to avoid drinking alcohol as it lowers your chances of successfully quitting.

Weight Gain
Some weight gain is normal when quitting smoking.  Eat a healthy diet, stay active and do not let weight gain distract you from your main goal.  Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about your weight.

Other Smokers
Being around others who smoke can tempt you to smoke.  Consider a temporary vacation from other smokers while you are quitting or ask them not to smoke around you.

Your Environment
Get rid of all cigarettes, ashtrays, matches and other things that remind you of smoking.