Changing your psychological addiction to smoking is as important as changing your physical addiction. Changing your thinking is a key to success.
Cravings are temporary and will pass after 5 or 10 minutes. You can make them pass faster, and be more assured that you won’t give in to them, if you tell yourself positive and encouraging things. This is called “self-talk.” A key to your success at quitting smoking will be your ability to use self-talk to stay motivated, committed, and distracted from your cravings and temptations to smoke.
When you want to smoke, deliberately think about something else. Focus your mind on writing a letter, cooking dinner, talking to someone, solving a puzzle, visualizing your future as a non-smoker.
Think about positive things
There are many things you can say to yourself that will boost your confidence and help you quit smoking.
- Remind yourself why you are quitting smoking.
- Remind yourself that cravings are temporary and pass quickly.
- Tell yourself “I can do this” and remember other times in your life when you successfully changed something about yourself.
- Tell yourself “this is just a feeling and it’s going to pass in a few minutes.”
- Tell yourself “I’m well prepared and I can handle anything that comes my way.”
- Tell yourself “this withdrawal is a sign that my body is healing itself.”
Change your view of yourself
You are a now a non-smoker. Non-smokers do not give in to cravings, they do things that don’t involve smoking, and they are proud of going through each day without having a cigarette. When you’re faced with the temptation to smoke, ask yourself “as a non-smoker, what would I do in this situation?”
Use visualization to boost your confidence
Prepare for your triggers by visualizing how best to handle them. For example, envision what would happen if you were offered a cigarette by a friend. Mentally craft a response and rehearse it in your mind.
Start your day with positive thinking
As soon as you arise from bed in the morning, tell yourself “I am proud that I made it one more day without smoking. I can do it again today.”
Have an emergency plan
If you have a cigarette or two after quitting smoking it’s normal and part of the quitting process. It doesn’t happen to everybody but it’s common and not a sign of failure. It’s called a “slip” when it’s a cigarette or two. If you start smoking regularly again, it’s called a “relapse.”
If you feel the urge to smoke or are tempted to slip:
- Stop smoking immediately and throw your cigarette(s) away.
- Leave the room or situation and do something that makes it impossible to smoke (e.g. take a shower).
- Talk positively to yourself. Remind yourself how far you’ve come.
- Make your mouth feel differently. Chew mint-flavoured gum.
- Do something active. Go for a brisk walk outside in the fresh air.
- If your craving is strong, do deep breathing until the feeling passes.
- If you absolutely cannot distract yourself, make a pledge with yourself that you will wait 10 minutes before you give in to the craving. If you delay, the craving will pass.
- Renew your commitment to quitting by getting support from people you trust.
Quit Smoking Resources
The following is a list of helplines and resources. New resources are continually available, and the contact information for some of these resources may change. For the most up-to-date information, do an internet search for “quit smoking programs.”
Provincial Smokers’ Helplines
- British Columbia (1.877.455.2233)
- Yukon (1.866.221.8393)
- Nunavut (1.866.877.3845)
- Northwest Territories (1.867.920.8826)
- Alberta (1.866.332-2322 and alberta.quitnet.com)
- Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia (1.877.513.5333)
- Prince Edward Island (1.888.818.6300)
- Quebec (1.866.527.7383)
- Newfoundland, Labrador (1.800.363.5864)
Resources For Youths
- Quit4Life (www.quit4life.ca) is a Health Canada program for 12 to 18 year olds.
- Smoke-FX (www.smoke-fx.com) is Ontario-based and has many useful resources to aid in quitting smoking as well as an advocacy tool kit.
- Smoking Zine (www.smokingzine.org) is a University of Toronto smoking cessation program for teens.
- Inventory of Canadian Tobacco Cessation Programs and Resources (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/pubs/tobac-tabac/ictcpr-rrpcrt/index-eng.php). A listing of smoking cessation programs that are available nation-wide or province-wide.
- Health Canada (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca). Health Canada has numerous resources to help smokers quit. Search the “It’s your health” section of the Health Canada site or use the A-Z index to find out about the latest programs and information they offer.
- Canadian Cancer Society (www.cancer.ca or 1.888.939.3333)
- Canadian Lung Association (www.lung.ca)
- Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
- National Clearinghouse on Tobacco and Health
- Non-smoker’s right association (www.nsra-adnf.ca)
- Physicians for a smoke-free Canada (www.smoke-free.ca)
- Conseil québécois sur le tabac et la santé (www.cqts.qc.ca)