Preparation to stop smoking - A Guide to Stop Smoking

There are things you can do to prepare yourself for stopping smoking. This includes keeping a ‘stop smoking’ diary, having plenty of chewing gum to hand and planning a ‘treat’ as a reward for giving up smoking.

But to start with, decide upon a ‘stop smoking’ date. Plan this a week or a month in advance which gives you time to prepare for it beforehand. And it also gives you a target date to work from.

Some people prefer to gradually cut down on their smoking but many others find that setting a ‘stop smoking’ date and starting from that works best. This approach is also recommended by anti-smoking experts who advocate that you stop smoking straightaway rather than trying to reduce it gradually over a period of time.

What is this reason behind this?

Their rationale is that nicotine will leave your body as quickly as 48 hours after your last cigarette. This means two to three days of unpleasant withdrawal effects but, these will ease over the next two to three weeks. Once you have gone through this then you are over the worst of it.

However, if you try and cut down gradually then all you are doing is prolonging the agony, in this case, the nicotine withdrawal process.

So it’s better to go for the short, sharp approach rather than the long, drawn out process.

So, what else should you do to prepare to stop smoking?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Make sure you have some sugar free chewing gum or nicotine gum such as Nicorette to hand.
  • Throw away your cigarettes and matches or lighters.
  • Tell your family and friends about your plans to stop smoking. And ask them for their help and support.
  • Keep a ‘stop smoking’ diary.
  • Stop before you reach for a cigarette first thing in the morning. The longer you delay this the less likely you are to satisfy your cravings.
  • Buy a ‘stress ball’ or find something to occupy your hands when the cravings strike. This will keep you busy as well as taking your mind off the cravings.
  • Plan a day out or some form of reward for when you give up smoking. This can be a meal out in a restaurant or a trip to the cinema. And make sure you keep away from any smoking areas.
  • Tell yourself that you can do this. Even if you have given up before, commit yourself to staying focused and positive.

Many people manage to successfully to give up smoking and so can you. You are not any different from them so tell yourself if others can do then so can you.

  • You will get cravings so when they happen, make a note of what triggered them, the time of day they occurred and how you were feeling at that time. This will enable you to identify any patterns to your cravings so that you will know what to expect and how to deal with them.
  • Take up a new sport or exercise regime or join a gym. Increased fitness is one of the benefits of stopping smoking so why not kick start this.
  • Avoid places where you are most likely to smoke such as the pub. This may seem harsh but until you know you can go for a drink without the risk of lighting up then avoid it for now.
  • Write down a list of all the good and bad things about smoking and pin it somewhere you are likely to see it.

What you are trying to do is to break out of the habit of wanting to smoke. This means ignoring the cravings and finding things to do which will keep you busy as well as taking your mind off them.

The cravings for a cigarette are basically, nicotine withdrawal symptoms but remind yourself why you are doing this and they will soon pass. A craving can be mental, physical or both but they usually pass after 5 minutes. So as soon as you feel the urge for a cigarette, find something to do such as making a cup of tea or putting clothes into the washing machine. Find something that will keep you busy until the craving passes.

You may find that nicotine replacement therapy, nicotine gum or a prescription medicine can help. These and other anti-smoking methods are discussed in greater detail in this section. For example our Tools to Stop Smoking section.

Learn more about stopping smoking…

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