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How to Quit Smoking: Weaning Vs. Cold Turkey

by
author image Assia M. Mortensen
Assia M. Mortensen has over 12 years of experience as an editor and journalist, and has published hundreds of articles in magazines, newspapers and online at "The Santa Barbara Independent," "Frontiers Magazine," "805 Living Magazine," Huffingtonpost.com, LIVESTRONG.COM and many other outlets. Mortensen graduated from the University of California in Santa Cruz with a Bachelor of Arts in literature and creative writing.
How to Quit Smoking: Weaning Vs. Cold Turkey
It can be helpful to pick a quit date and mark it on your calendar. Photo Credit no smoke image by Lovrencg from Fotolia.com

There is no single correct way to quit smoking cigarettes. Most people try to quit several times before succeeding, according to The American Cancer Society, which suggests three steps to help increase your chances of success. First, make the decision to quit. Second, choose a plan that includes dealing with symptoms of withdrawal. Third, create a maintenance plan in order to remain smoke free.

Cold Turkey

The cold turkey method involves stopping smoking completely on a particular date. The American Cancer Society recommends picking a specific date within the next month; choosing a date too far in the future can give you time to rationalize or lose motivation. Before your quit date, tell your friends and family about your plans and form a support system. Remove cigarettes and ashtrays in your home, car and work. Oral substitutes like gum, carrot sticks, hard candy, cinnamon sticks, water, straws and toothpicks can be helpful. Consider joining a support group for more assistance, and stay active.

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Prescriptions and Other Aids

Consult your doctor if you are interested in trying prescriptions like bupropion, with the brand name Zyban, or varenicline, with the brand name Chantix. Often you have to start taking the drug a full week before your quit date, according to the American Cancer Society. Some people reduce smoking by using either nicotine chewing gum or a patch, which decreases the amount of nicotine in your system over time, according to the Health Literacy website.

Tapering Off Cigarettes

How to Quit Smoking: Weaning Vs. Cold Turkey
Some choose to taper off cigarettes. Photo Credit cigarettes and lighters image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com

You can try to stop smoking by weaning yourself, slowly decreasing the number of cigarettes per day. This takes discipline, but it can help reduce withdrawal symptoms. For example, if you usually have a cup of coffee and a cigarette in the morning, have a cup of coffee and some fruit, a muffin or pastry. Then work on the next association, which might be smoking while driving; Substitute this cigarette for chewing gum. Keep reducing the number of cigarettes per day until you are smoke-free. You also can try smoking just half of each cigarette or smoking lighter brands with less nicotine.

Staying Smoke Free

According to the Centers for Disease Control, you should take "quitting one day at a time, even one minute at a time" and give yourself a month to fully get over cravings. People who have smoked regularly for years will experience withdrawal when quitting. However, according to the American Cancer Society, withdrawal symptoms usually peak two or three days after stopping, then decrease.

Reward Yourself

Be sure to reward yourself along the way for reducing or quitting smoking. Remind yourself of your success. Within weeks of quitting, you will feel much better and will have taken a great step toward long-term health.

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