Tips for Staying Tobacco Free
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Every moment you don’t smoke or use tobacco is a success. Each previous attempt to stop using tobacco is a “practice run” that allows you to learn and adapt so that you can succeed the next time. Change is a process.
Because it may take more than one attempt to be able to fully stop using tobacco, we want to provide you some quick tips for relapse prevention and staying Tobacco Free. Deciding to live a tobacco-free life is just the first step!
- Remind yourself that beginning to smoke again (even one puff) will increase urges and make quitting more difficult than before;
- Focus on the positive aspects of your life;
- Learn about yourself—your stressors, triggers and what makes you calm;
- Find alternative outlets, approaches, and means to handle your problems;
- Never take your recovery for granted;
- Continuously remind yourself why you made the decision to quit smoking;
- Continue to review the health benefits of quitting—you may have even begun to
- experience such benefits at this point;
- Learn to cope with all of your feelings in a healthy way. This includes the positive and healthy feelings. You can celebrate and grieve without using tobacco.
Monitoring Urges and Cravings:
- You should monitor your urges and cravings to smoke so as to better understand the situations and reasons that reinforce them;
- Those urges and desires to smoke will pass. It usually only takes 3 to 5 minutes for a craving to pass;
- You can overcome those cravings by learning cognitive and behavioral coping responses;
- You can identify those responses by writing down the times of day that they are at the biggest risk of lapsing;
- You should also write down five substitutes for any situation in which you might smoke;
- Once you have identified your coping responses it is important to avoid high-risk situations;
- This will ease the quitting process for you. If you feel like you’re about to slip, apply your list of “substitutes” before giving in to the urge to smoke.
Read the full tip sheet for staying tobacco free by downloading the FREE PDF for Living Tobacco Free: A Toolkit for Military and Veteran Family Caregivers.
Learn more about what works and doesn't work when it comes to stopping tobacco use.