Thinking about quitting but want to make sure you’re prepared? Here are some other ways to help you get ready for the mental and physical challenges that can come with quitting.
There are many reasons (triggers) that make you feel like you need to use commercial tobacco or vape. By understanding where, when, and why—you can be prepared to fight those cravings.
Try this, for at least 3 days:
- Write it down
- The time, place, and what you were doing—every time you use tobacco or vape
- Rank the need
- Did you really need it?
- Sort of need it?
- Or, didn’t really need it?
- Make note of your mood
- Were you in a good mood?
- A so-so or blah mood?
- Or, a bad mood?
QUICK TIP: Order a Quit Guide. It’s free and it contains “pack tracks.” These easy-to-use cards are about the size of a pack of cigarettes so you can keep the cards with your cigarettes, chew, or vape to make recording easy.
Anyone can get depressed, but tobacco users are more likely to get depressed than other types of people. Depression is more than feeling sad or having a bad day. Signs of depression include:
- Feeling down‚ blue‚ or sad all the time
- Not wanting to do things that used to be fun
- Easily frustrated or restless
- Not sleeping well or sleeping too much
- Eating more or less than usual
- Feeling worthless or having thoughts about dying or hurting yourself
The good news is that there are treatments that work for both depression and smoking. If you are feeling depressed after quitting tobacco, talk about it with friends, family, and your doctor.
You can also call the QuitLine and talk with a Quit Coach. The trained staff can help you deal with feelings of depression or anxiety related to quitting. People who use a Quit Coach are 2x more likely to quit and stay quit. You’re not alone. Reach out. They’re ready to help.
You can find out more about depression and tobacco use at the CDC.
Weight Management & Cravings
Worried about gaining weight? Not sure you’ll be able to manage cravings? Don’t let these common concerns stop you from quitting. There are lots of ways to avoid weight gain and beat those cravings! Here are just a few:
- Exercise! You’ll burn calories faster and relieve stress.
- Drink a large glass of water or chew gum when you feel hungry.
- Eat slowly. Don’t eat on the run or in front of the TV—you may end up eating more.
- Stock up on healthy snacks so you have something else to go to when cravings hit.
- Do something else! Get up and stretch. Wash your face. Brush your teeth. Trim your nails. Call a friend.
Quitting is stressful. You can expect to have uncomfortable feelings, cravings, withdrawals, and temptation to use commercial tobacco or vape. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Hang in there! Withdrawal is your body getting used to being without nicotine. You might feel depressed, crabby, anxious, nervous, restless, or have trouble thinking clearly. Don’t give in to the temptation to use tobacco. These feelings are temporary.
- Don’t give in to cravings. They’re short but intense urges to use tobacco and usually only last a few minutes. Plan ahead with a short list of activities or distractions to keep you from giving in.
- Get rid of ALL tobacco or vape products and anything that might make you think of using tobacco or vape. Clean out your car, home, and work. Don’t save anything “just in case.” If it’s not there—you can’t use it.
- Don’t switch to other tobacco or vape products—they ALL contain harmful chemicals. Don’t be fooled: low-tar, light, E-cigarettes, vape pens, smokeless tobacco products, pipes, cigars, cigarillos, hookah pipes, bidi and clove cigarettes all hurt your health.
- Don’t go it alone. Tell family, friends, doctors, and co-workers that you’re ready to quit. Get support. Call the QuitLine and work with a Quit Coach. Quitting is tough, but it’s easier with a support network.
- Delay. The urge to smoke will pass whether you smoke or not.
- Deep breathe.
- Drink water.
- Do something. Take your mind off smoking.
Don’t panic, slips happen. Don’t be discouraged, many people slip—especially in the first three months. Don’t use your slip as an excuse to start back up again. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- It’s a small setback. Don’t give up. You haven’t failed, you just need to get right back on the non-tobacco track again.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. A slip won’t make you a tobacco user again. Don’t fall into the trap of saying, “I blew it so I might as well smoke the rest of this pack.”
- Remember to be proud of EVERY minute, day, or week you went without a slip.
- Identify your triggers. What led to your slip? Think about ways you can cope with those triggers the next time they come up.
- Learn from your slip and ask for help. Reach out to a friend or family member for support, or call the South Dakota QuitLine and talk to a Quit Coach. You don’t have to do this alone.