Judy Siebart

By Judy Siebart, WVU Medicine Dietitian

Former smokers say that quitting was one of the biggest challenges they’ve ever faced, but millions of people live smoke-free, and you can too! Use these five steps to help you through cigarette withdrawal symptoms and get you back to a healthier lifestyle.

1. Set a quit date.
Choose Thursday, Nov. 17 – the Great American Smokeout – or another quit day.

2. Tell your family and friends about your quit plan.
Share your quit date with the important people in your life and ask for support. A daily phone call, e-mail, or text message can help you stay on course and provide moral support. Sign up for SmokefreeTXT, a 24/7 mobile text messaging service that provides support for those trying to quit smoking.

3. Be prepared for challenges.
The urge to smoke is short – usually only three to five minutes. Surprised? Those moments can feel intense. Even one puff can feed a craving and make it stronger. Before your quit day, write down some healthy ways to cope, including:

  • Calling or texting a friend to talk you through it until the urge to smoke passes.
  • Taking a walk or riding your bike.
  • Listening to a favorite song, playing a game, doodling, working a puzzle, or coloring.

4. Get rid of cigarettes and tobacco.
Remove cigarettes and tobacco from your home, car, and workplace – and clean and freshen these locations. Old cigarette odors can cause cravings. Throw away your cigarettes, matches, lighters, and ashtrays. 

5. Talk with your pharmacist, doctor, or quitline coach about your options.
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), such as patches, gum, lozenges, and other approved quit medication, can help with cravings. However, the best success rate is achieved by using NRT, along with group therapy.

For smoking cessation resources and support group information, call 855-WVU-CARE.