Nearly 70% of people who smoke cigarettes want to quit. With 2020 now behind us, and a fresh start ahead this may be the perfect time! There are physical changes in your body almost immediately when you choose to quit smoking, and those changes continue to happen for years. This graphic has great information about the physiological benefits of quitting. If you stop smoking this month, by December you would have already noticed some positive changes and reduced their risk of heart disease.

Both counseling and medications combined give you the best opportunity of quitting for good. Don’t worry, you won’t be lying on a couch exploring your soul, tobacco cessation counseling can help you develop a plan to quit smoking and help cope with stress, urges, and the many other things that come with making a change. Free coaching is available through the Nebraska Tobacco Quitline via phone or web-based coaching, along with other free resources. Medications can help manage withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and can help you stay confident and motivated. These include nicotine replacement therapy, prescription medications, or even a combination of the two as prescribed by a doctor.

Developing a Quit Plan is recommended by the CDC. Tips for your Quit Plan include:

  • Pick a quit date (usually within two weeks). This will give you enough time to prepare and really think about your quit date. Avoid choosing a day where you know you will be busy, stressed, or tempted to smoke.
  • Let at least one or two people know you are quitting to help develop a support system. Those important people in your life are great resources and they want you to succeed. Be sure to have open conversations about how they can specifically help you.
  • Identify and verbalize your reason to quit smoking. Everyone’s reason is different. Maybe it is to be healthier, to save money, to keep your family safe, or reducing risks of COVID. Write down your reason and put it somewhere you see every day to keep you motivated.
  • Remove all reminders of smoking. Make sure to clear out old cigarettes/vapes/vape juices, matches/lighters, ashtrays, etc. Remember to check all the areas that you frequent including work, the car, and home.
  • Identify your triggers. Certain activities, feelings, and people are linked to your smoking. These triggers may cause an urge to smoke. If you can anticipate these triggers and develop coping strategies to deal with them, it will help control the craving to smoke.
  • Identify places to turn to for help. This could be a support group, the Nebraska Tobacco Quitline, or a loved one. It is important to make sure you have support for your quit journey whenever you may need it.
  • Set up rewards for quit milestones. Quitting happens one second at a time. Reward yourself throughout your quit journey with things such as a dinner, a day doing something you like, or even just telling yourself that you’re doing a good job when you did not give into a craving. Quitting is hard, be proud of your accomplishments!

This new year will likely bring a lot of changes, why not make them positive? For help quitting the Nebraska Tobacco Quitline is available at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) and for Spanish services at 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569). Translation services are also available in more than 200 languages.

Information is sourced from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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