The Canadian Cancer Society is calling on smokers to try something ridiculous in their bid to get – and stay – smoke-free this New Year.
“We hear stories from smokers every day about all of the weird tricks that they or their friends use to stay smoke-free,” says John Atkinson, Director of Smokers’ Helpline. “A lot of them actually have roots in science, but people don’t always realize it at the time. The old saying is often true – if it sounds stupid, but it works, it isn’t stupid.”
1. Quit. A lot. It can take a lot of tries to stay quit for good – so try frequently until you quit for good. For help with that, join Smokers’ Helpline’s monthly First Week Challenge Contest at firstweekchallengecontest.ca and you could win $500 by staying quit for just one week.
2. Celebrate your failures. Each time you try to quit, you learn more about what works for you and what pitfalls to avoid. So celebrate learning something new for the next time you try to quit.
3. Talk to strangers. You aren’t the first person to quit smoking, and you won’t be the last, but maybe your friends and family don’t really get it. Smokers’ Helpline Online has an anonymous community where you can talk to other quitters, get support and ask the questions you might think are stupid, but really aren’t stupid at all. Or you can call a quit coach – they may be strangers, but they’re really nice, won’t judge and they’re super helpful!
4. Make excuses. Somebody is going to ask you out for a smoke break, or you’re going to get that after-lunch craving. What are you going to do? Start making excuses now so that you have one ready when you need it. And for those stressful situations you can’t excuse yourself from, you can talk to a Smokers’ Helpline Quit Coach to make plans to get through them instead –call toll-free: 1-877-513-5333.
5. Overshare. Tell everybody you’re quitting. Post it on Facebook, tell that guy you buy your coffee from – everybody. Public pledges help keep you accountable and allow your friends to support you when you need it.
6. Take up drinking…water, not alcohol. Drinking more water, especially early on, will help during cravings and will speed up the removal of nicotine and other stuff from your system. And yeah, even if quitting is driving you to drink, try to lay off the booze – it’s a pretty common reason people fall off the quit-wagon.
7. Take a hike. Bundle up, get your boots on, and head outside. Exercise, like walking or running, can help you stay smoke-free and reduce common side effects (like weight gain). If you’ve never been a walker, let alone a runner, you can learn to run and get support while you quit smoking with the Run to Quit program (and maybe win a car). Register at runtoquit.com
8. Stop planning to quit. Jumping in with 2 feet and quitting right now can provide more insight than endlessly planning and putting off actually quitting. You learn by doing, and by trying to quit at least once, you’ll have more information to plan for the next time and it may be less daunting because you’ve already done it before. As always, if you like to plan, plan away, it can only prepare you!
9. Use nicotine… from Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products. They work by bringing down your daily dose of nicotine bit by bit without the other effects of tobacco. It’s a method that can more than double your chances of long-term success, and works with the other tips in this list, too. You can talk to your doctor or pharmacist or call Smokers’ Helpline for free at 1-877-513-5333 to speak to a trained Quit Coach for more information. If you use NRT and you call Smokers’ Helpline, you’ll triple your chance of making your quit stick.