There are so many amazing resources available to help you quit smoking. And if you’re reading this post, you already know the WHY behind quitting and are looking for answers on HOW to quit smoking. Use this article to stop smoking and find helpful resources to help you on your journey!

Every year, over 1 million Americans quit smoking. I know you have what it takes to join that group!

Step 1: Realize Why Quitting is So Hard

Smoking tobacco is especially difficult to quit because it affects you on both physical and psychological levels! First, the physical addiction comes from nicotine in cigarettes, which provides a temporary (and addicting!) “high.” Nicotine stimulates a “feel good” response which is an easy way to deal with stress, depression, anxiety, and fatigue. When you try to quit, your body goes through an actual withdrawal with physical symptoms and cravings. Add that to the fact that you are taking away a coping mechanism and it seems impossible to quit!

Smoking is also a psychological habit and can be as automatic as brushing your teeth or reaching for coffee first thing in the morning. It may be a way that you trigger your brain to relax or even interact with your social circle! When it has become part of your daily routine, you may reach for a cigarette out of habit rather than a true craving.

But you absolutely can succeed with the right plan and support–even if your’ve failed multiple other attempts to quit! Quitting smoking is a multi-step process that addresses both the physical addiction and the psychological aspects that millions have been able to do, and you can too!

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Step 2: Prepare a Plan and Commit to Quitting

You need to plan ahead before you quit smoking. Have you tried to quit previously? You may want to join a program with proven success rate because of the benefit of walking you through your struggles, step by step. Here are some basic things to consider when you plan to quit smoking:

Set a Start Date

Set a start date for sometime within the next 2 weeks. You are motivated right now to quit, which is why you are reading this article, so don’t lose your determination! Do you smoke more often on weekends? Then set your start date for a Monday. Is your work-week structured around smoke breaks? Then plan to quit on a weekend. But PUT IT ON THE CALENDAR and COMMIT to it today.

Plan for Triggers

Evaluate your smoking habits. What are your triggers? What are the circumstances and situations that make you reach for a cigarette? Who are the people that make you smoke more often? Once you can honestly answer these questions, you need to make a plan. This is NOT easy and will require support, which is why a program with support has excellent success rate. You are not alone and have accountability and resources!

Plan for Cravings

Expect symptoms from nicotine withdrawal. Expect cravings. You need to have a plan that you can refer to so that you set yourself up for success! Cravings usually last only between 5-10 minutes, so prepare a list of things to do to distract yourself until the craving passes.

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Before your Craving

  • Write a list of activities that you can plan to do to distract yourself if you start to have a craving. Things like taking a walk, doing dishes, putting on music…just something different.
  • Focus on WHY you have decided to quit. It could be for health reasons, financial reasons, or even self esteem. But you have decided to quit for a good reason, so make sure to keep your focus on the why!
  • Avoid tempting situations. Do you smoke when you are out socially at the bar? You may have to skip that outing for a weekend until you are better prepared. Do you connect with your coworkers during smoke breaks? Try to take a walk around the building with a coworker instead of smoking. Make small changes that will impact your success.
  • Reward yourself! Set up a rewards system for every day, week, month, and year that you have remained smoke-free!

During a Craving

  • Find an oral substitute– chew gum, suck on a mint or candy, suck on a straw…anything to use as a substitute for smoking a cigarette
  • Keep your mind busy– distract yourself by doing something that is mentally stimulating: a crossword puzzle, adult coloring pages, or a brain game app on your phone.
  • Keep your hands busy– use tactile stimulation such as a fidget toy, stress ball, or even a smooth stone in your pocket to rub.
  • Brush your teeth– reset the taste in your mouth to a clean, fresh taste
  • Drink waterstaying hydrated keeps you energized and helps minimize the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal
  • Essential oils– reset your craving by smelling a different scent. Try lavender, citrus, or mint in a diffuser or applied to your wrists
  • Go somewhere that smoking is not allowed
  • Get active– take a walk, enjoy the sun and fresh air until the craving resolves
  • Try to relax– use deep breathing techniques (reviewed below), take a warm bath, read a book, or meditate to stay calm and centered instead of stressing out during a craving.
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Step 3: Set Up your Support System While you Quit Smoking

Is there someone in your life that you can turn to who has successfully quit smoking? Is there a friend or co-worker that you can both go through a program together? Set up your support system before your quitting start date. You may join a Facebook group or local MeetUp. You could start a group at work. There are many possibilities, but your success rate only goes UP when you have a support system in place!

Step 4: Get Through the First Week

The first week is the toughest! Here is a list of things that you can expect so that you can prepare ahead of time! These symptoms don’t happen to everyone and can be mild or very short-lived. Just know that they DO NOT LAST and you WILL get back to feeling like yourself when you make it past the first week!

  • Cigarette cravings
  • Irritability and frustration
  • Restlessness and Anxiety
  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Increased coughing
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Appetite changes
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in your bowel habits
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Step 5: Keep Your Focus to Quit Smoking

You’ve GOT THIS! Stay motivated and keep your focus! Keep reminders posted in your car, in your kitchen, in your office, and by your bedside! You will have tough days, especially in the beginning. But remember your long term goals and remind yourself of all of the positive things you will gain when you finally quit smoking FOR GOOD!

Realize that Slipping doesn’t Mean Failing

Step 6: Think of the Financial Savings

The infographic below shows the average cost of smoking 1 pack per day in New York State. Your individual statistics may vary, but do the math! How much does 1 pack of YOUR brand cost?

Now multiply that by the number of packs you smoke each day. Could you use that extra money? Then USE IT! Take your cigarette money and put it in an account that you don’t touch.

At the end of 365 days of being smoke-free, PLAN TO USE THAT MONEY! You earned it and paid yourself EVERY DAY by not smoking! Now multiply that number by the next 10, 15, or 20 years….that cash adds up! What’s your number??

Step 7: Stay Positive

Stay positive during the process! Journal encouraging thoughts and ask your support group to send you words of encouragement! Allow yourself to vent and complain, then regroup!

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Step 8: Work with a Certified Wellness Coach

There are so many great programs to choose from but sometimes you need more accountability. By working with a certified wellness coach, you can take baby steps, meet your goals, and improve your health! I am happy to be there with you every step of the way and encourage you!

You’ve got this! I believe in you.

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Hello! My name is Sarah and I am a Wellness Coach and Healthcare Provider with 15 years of experience. I am passionate about intentional, balanced living and created this blog to help others live a mindful life focussed on Self Care! Here you will find resources covering topics from health, finance, self-discovery, psychology, to balance, mindfulness, and intentional living. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions.

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