search button MENU ESPAÑOL
how to quit header graphic

How to QuitPractice makes perfect

What will it take for me to quit smoking?

Most smokers try to quit many times and try many different ways before they quit smoking successfully. Chances are you have tried to quit before and you know it can be hard to stay motivated.

The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all way to quit. Find what’s right for you.

Here are some tips to help…


Know your reasons for wanting to quit and think back to them when the going gets tough.


Preparing and thinking ahead will build your confidence and help manage your triggers.


Understand that quitting is a process, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip – just get right back on track.

Consider medications

Medications can boost your chances of quitting successfully. There are several types of medications that, when used correctly, can help curb nicotine cravings during your quit.

Combination nicotine replacement therapy, or combination therapy, combines the patch and gum or lozenge for long and short-acting relief from cigarette cravings. This can be especially helpful for heavy smokers (20 or more cigarettes per day).

Learn more

Tried medications before? Talk with your healthcare provider to be sure you have the right dosage, duration of use, and medication type for you.

Try to plan ahead

  • Schedule an appointment with your health care provider.
  • Get rid of items that remind you of smoking or trigger a craving – cigarette packs, ashtrays, and lighters.
  • Change up things in your home where you would usually smoke.
  • Move your favorite chair, talk on the phone in a different space, and change up your after-meal routine.
  • Plan ahead for dangerous situations like work-time smoke breaks, social events, and stressful situations.
  • Try saying, “No thanks, I quit.”

What situations might be hardest or easiest for you? Try to have some strategies ready: excuse yourself when others light up or just avoid these situations, at least until you are a confident nonsmoker.

Learn more

Try lining up your support

Tell your healthcare provider about your desire to quit and ask for support with stop-smoking medications (like nicotine replacement or Chantix) to help stop cravings and relieve withdrawal symptoms. Your health provider can prescribe the best medications to meet your needs.

Find those family members and friends who will support your quit efforts. Ask them to be there when you need someone to talk to or help you through a tough situation that might bring you back to smoking.

Talk with a Quit Coach now or request to be called for a plan to quit and strategies to stay quit.

Ask others not to smoke around you and not to smoke in your living space and car.

To keep your hands and mouth busy…
Stock up on stir sticks, cinnamon sticks, or straws to hold and chew. Low-calorie mints or candies can help as well.

Consider choosing a quit date

When you are ready, try to choose a quit date within the next two weeks, This will give you time to prepare.

Write down your quit date or set it in your calendar to help strengthen your commitment to quit.

Know your reasons to quit. This will help to keep you motivated.

Ask yourself, “Do I want to quit to…”

improve my health
be around for my family members and loved-ones
stop wasting money
look, feel and smell better?

Carry your reason with you or a picture of those you are quitting for to keep you going during tough times.

Practice makes perfect – now is the time to practice

Practice mini-quits – rehearsals help you build confidence and skills before your quit date.
Cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke per day gradually.
Cut out the easiest cigarettes first, then move to the ones that are harder to let go of in your daily routine.
Try quitting for a half a day, then a day, then two days.
For each practice, think about what you learned, what worked, what didn’t work, and what you can do differently.

Managing your triggers and urges

There are two types of triggers: habit and emotional. These may include daily routines, events, activities, or feelings. To learn what your triggers are, try tracking when you smoke and how you feel when you do. Do you smoke when you feel stress or excitement? When you drink alcohol or coffee?

Once you know your triggers, you can plan ways to manage them. Change some of the ways you go about your daily routines – here are some tips to help you manage different triggers.

Urges come and go, and typically last five minutes. Hold off smoking during those five minutes, and those urges will go away.

Consider how you think about smoking

Breaking free from cigarettes can bring on feelings of loss, like losing a “friend.” Working on how you think about smoking can be very helpful.

Begin to think of yourself as a nonsmoker, look at other nonsmokers, and picture yourself as one of them. When you begin to have feelings about what you miss about smoking, stop and list all the benefits you are getting by quitting, and remember the reasons you wanted to quit in the first place.

How will you build your quit kit?

Be prepared for cravings with your quit kit. Start by trying any of the following, and find what works for you.
Snackslicorice, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds can calm feelings of hunger and offer a low-calorie snack
Activitiesword puzzles or a stress ball can provide distraction during cravings
Cravingstoothpicks or cinnamon sticks can provide craving relief. Chew or hold these in your mouth when you feel a craving.

Slip-ups and relapses

Slips are part of the process of quitting. A slip can be having a puff or one or two cigarettes after you quit. If you slip up, be easy on yourself. It is a brief setback – get right back on track.

A relapse is going back to smoking regularly – this happens when you give in to a slip.

Learn more
Last updated 8/29/2019 11:07 AM
Print Print Me!
footer angle image

We want to know what you think.
Help us help others.

Your feedback can help us support people trying to beat tobacco, just like you. Please take a moment for our brief survey.

Questions? Feedback?

Contact us for questions or requests, or take our brief survey for website feedback.

Get the latest...

News, program updates, and support from a specialized Quit Coach – join us on:

Not insured? Check out the New York State of Health by visiting nystateofhealth.ny.gov.

Developed by Roswell Park Cessation Services at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center | Elm & Carlton Streets | Buffalo, NY | 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) | nysmokefree.com | Call hours: Mon-Thurs 9AM-9PM, Fri-Sun 9AM-5PM. Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Speech Disabled: Call the NY Relay Service at 7-1-1 (Voice or TTY), give the operator the Quitline number. | Privacy | *Logo cannot be reproduced without permission.

Scroll for more Back to Top