You've prepared and now it is time to quit! Here are some tips to manage cravings and stay motivated.

Stock up on supplies

Withdrawal on quit day can be intense. Healthy snacks and things to keep your hands busy can help with cravings and keep you distracted, so have these ready for your quit day.

  • Gum or mints
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Unsalted sunflower seeds
  • Crunchy veggies like carrots and celery
  • Herbal or decaffeinated tea
  • Stress ball or Rubik’s cube
  • Supplies for current or new hobbies like knitting or painting

Get your quitting medications

Make sure to have your quitting medications on hand for your quit day and beyond.

  • Nicotine patches, gum and inhalers will greatly reduce the intensity of your cravings. Make sure have the right dosage and enough supply on hand.
  • If you are planning to use prescription medications like Varenicline (Champix®) or Bupropion SR (Zyban®) plan your quit day accordingly. Aim to take that medication for one to two weeks before your actual quit day, to build up levels in your body.

Prepare your surroundings

Make your quit easier by removing all smoking reminders and stocking up on supplies.

  • Clean your house and car to remove the smell of smoke from walls, carpets and furniture.
  • Get rid of ashtrays, lighters, and other smoking paraphernalia.
  • Have your quit medications available and start using them.
  • Have the supplies you need on hand, including healthy snacks, water and other things that keep your hands and mind busy.
  • Give your clothes a good wash, and where possible, hang them outside to get that fresh air smell.

Keep busy

Cravings are strongest for the first few days, so keeping busy will help distract you and keep your thoughts off smoking.

  • Go outside for a walk. Breathing in fresh air will help with cravings.
  • Get some exercise. Go to the gym, for a bike ride or a run.
  • Drink lots of water. Try a glass of cold water - it really helps to cut the cravings.
  • Keep your hands busy. Play games on your phone, squeeze a stress ball, play cards, do a puzzle, or try juggling.
  • Spend time with your non-smoking friends and family. Getting social will keep your mind off of smoking.
  • Do some of those things you’ve been avoiding, like errands, house cleaning, repairs, decorating, or organizing. This will not only distract you, but also help you feel accomplished.

Avoid your triggers

Triggers include places, people or situations that cause you to want to smoke. Everyone has their own triggers, so know yours and avoid them where possible.

  • Avoid alcohol in the beginning as it can reduce your willpower to stay quit. Avoid caffeine too, as it’s a major trigger and can give you the jitters. Try switching to drinks like caffeine-free tea, juice or water.
  • Avoid stressful situations. Stress can trigger an urge to smoke, so try to stay calm and do some deep breathing. Consider yoga or meditation to help you stay relaxed.
  • Avoid being around other people who smoke. This might be hard if your family or friends smoke, but ask that they don’t smoke around you and organize activities where people can’t smoke – like going to the movies.
  • Avoid sitting around after meals if this is a trigger. Do the dishes, brush your teeth or go for a walk.

Quitting is hard, and for the first few days you’ll need to take it one hour at a time. But remember, you’ve got this. Think of a rule that’s easy to remember – like “NOPE- Not One Puff Ever” – and repeat it over and over when you feel those negative thoughts slipping in. Try to focus on why you chose to quit in the first place and think about how good you’ll feel when you are smoke-free! Read on to find out about some options for help with quitting.

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