The Great American Smokeout: Tips for People Deciding to Quit


5. If at First You Don't Succeed, Try, Try Again

Experts say that it usually takes smokers seven to 10 attempts to kick the habit before they actually give it up for good, and Hughes said it's important that people trying to quit don't stop if they happen to relapse.

"Any behavior you have been doing ... it's hard to change it," he said. "It's important not to give up."

Glynn said that it's a learning process. Every time a smoker slips -- say, by smoking a cigarette after dinner -- they should learn from that experience and do something to change. He suggested finding something to do after dinner to take their mind off of the craving until it passes. Take a walk, talk on the phone, anything.

"Most cravings last two to three minutes," he said. "Multiple slips are not only acceptable, they are expected."

6. Communicate With Loved Ones

Hughes and Glynn both said that there are several things non-smokers can do to help their loved ones get through the day, including sitting down with them to set some ground rules.

"Ask them not to smoke around you, keep the cigarettes away from you, make cigarettes not very available," Hughes said. "Going a day without smoking for them is harder than if I fasted for a day. Many smokers would much rather go without eating for a day than without cigarettes."

Glynn suggested that the smokers go through their homes and get rid of any cues that may cause them to pick up a pack. Matches, stressful work that has been sitting on the desk, lighters or anything that may cause a craving has to go.

"Getting social support is very important. Let them know you're going to do this and you're going to need help," said Glynn.

7. Look at Your Bank Account

These days, Glynn said, economics is driving a lot of people to think about quitting as much as their health is. The average cost of a pack of cigarettes in the U.S. is $5.50, and in some regions, packs can cost upwards of $10.

People are not only spending an extra $2,000 to $4,000 per year just on the habit alone, but must also account for extra health care costs, dental visits, dry cleaning, etc.

The good news, according to Glynn, is America has passed a new threshold. In 2009, there became more former smokers than current smokers. There are now 49 million people who have successfully quit.

"Smokers need to think of this as a gift to themselves, their family and co-workers," said Glynn, "something you can really do for yourself and others."

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