by DeAnna Pearl, Prevention Specialist, SOS Tillamook

 Did you know . . .

On average, it takes 7 attempts to quit smoking for good? Planning with a friend or supportive family member can help.  The key is to pick a date and make a plan.  

On Nov. 16th, thousands of people quit tobacco use during the annual Great American Smoke Out.  Don’t smoke or chew?  Encourage someone you know to pick a date to quit or to kick off their plan to quit.  By quitting – even for 1 day – you will be one step closer to achieving better health.

As a former tobacco cessation specialist, many people successfully quit smoking or chewing “cold turkey.”  Others work with their doctor or mental health provider to identify the best way to help them quit. Regardless of outside support, understanding one’s personal values and reasons to quit are key to long-term success.  Here are some other strategies from that have been shown to help people become tobacco-free.

Set a quit date. Pick a day that you’ll stop smoking or using tobacco. Put it on your calendar and tell friends and family (if they know) that you’ll quit on that day. Think of the day as a dividing line between the smoking you and the new, improved nonsmoker you’ll become.

Throw away your cigarettes and/or chew — all of it. People can’t stop using tobacco with cigarettes or chew cans around to tempt them. So get rid of everything, including ashtrays, lighters, and, yes, even that pack you stashed away for emergencies.

Wash all your clothes. Get rid of the smell of cigarettes as much as you can by washing all your clothes and having your coats or sweaters dry-cleaned. If you smoked in your car, clean that out, too.

Think about your triggers. You’re probably aware of the times when you tend to use tobacco, such as after meals, when you’re at your best friend’s house, while drinking coffee, or as you’re driving. Any situation where it feels automatic to have a cigarette/chew is a trigger. Once you’ve figured out your triggers, try these tips

  • Break the link. If you smoke when you drive, get a ride to school, walk, or take the bus for a few weeks so you can break the connection. If you normally smoke or chew after meals, do something else after you eat, like go for a walk or talk to a friend.
  • Change the place. If you and your friends usually eat takeout in the car so you can smoke, sit in the restaurant instead.
  • Substitute something else for tobacco. It can be hard to get used to not holding something or not having a cigarette in your mouth. If you have this problem, stock up on carrot sticks, sugar-free gum, mints, toothpicks, or lollipops.



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