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March 11 2014

Quit Smoking Tip Sheet

Joel Spitzer, Director Education at WhyQuit

  1. Quit cold turkey. In the long run it’s the easiest and most effective technique of smoking cessation.
  2. Do not carry cigarettes.
  3. Quit smoking one day at a time. Do not concern yourself with next year, next month, next week or even tomorrow. Concentrate on not smoking from the time you wake up until you go to sleep.
  4. Work on developing the attitude that you are doing yourself a favor by not smoking. Do not dwell on the idea that you are depriving yourself of a cigarette. You are ridding yourself full fledged smoking because you care enough about yourself to want to.
  5. Be proud that you are not smoking.
  6. Be aware that many routine situations will trigger the urge for a cigarette. Situations which will trigger a response include: drinking coffee, alcohol, sitting in a bar, social events with smoking friends, card games, the end of meals. Try to maintain your normal routine while quitting. If any event seems to tough, leave it and go back to it later. Do not feel you must give up any activity forever. Everything you did as a smoker, you will learn to do at least as well, and maybe better, as an ex-smoker.
  7. Make a list of all the reasons you want to quit smoking. Keep this list with you, preferably where you used to carry your cigarettes. When you find yourself reaching for a cigarette, take out your list and read it.
  8. Drink plenty of fruit juice the first three days. It will help flush nicotine out of your system.
  9. To help avoid weight gain, eat vegetables and fruit instead of candies and pastries. Celery and carrots can be used safely as short-term substitutes for cigarettes.
  10. If you are concerned about weight gain, do some moderate form of regular exercise. If you have not been exercising regularly, consult your physician for a practical exercise program which is safe for you.
  11. If you encounter a crisis, (e.g. a flat tire, flood, blizzard, family illness) while quitting, remember, smoking is no solution. Smoking will just complicate the original situation while creating another crisis, a relapse into the nicotine addiction.
  12. Consider yourself a “smoke-a-holic.” One puff and you can become hooked again. No matter how long you have been off, don’t think you can safely take a puff!
  13. Don’t debate with yourself how much you want a cigarette. Ask yourself how do you feel about going back to your old level of consumption. Smoking is an all or nothing proposition.
  14. Save the money you usually spend on cigarettes and buy yourself something you really want after a week or a month. Save for a year and you can treat yourself to a vacation.
  15. Practice deep breathing exercises when you have a craving.
  16. Go places where you normally can’t smoke, such as movies, libraries and no smoking sections of restaurants.
  17. Tell people around you that you have quit smoking.
  18. Remember that there are only two good reasons to take a puff once you quit. You decide you want to go back to your old level of consumption until smoking cripples and then kills you, or, you decide you really enjoy withdrawal and you want to make it last forever. As long as neither of these options appeal to you—never take another puff!

About the Author

Joel Spitzer has been a leading authority in the development and implementation of smoking cessation and prevention programs for more than 40 years. Far from just following and teaching the commonly held beliefs of the day, he recognized early on that nicotine was an addiction, while most of the medical and scientific community, including the U.S. Surgeon General (see paragraph 5), contended it was simply a habit.

His early insights allowed him to develop and implement nicotine prevention and intervention strategies that were far ahead of their time. Participants in Joel’s clinics experienced success in quitting at rates far in excess of the national average for such programs.

Since 2000, he has served as Director of Education at, a volunteer position for which he has never accepted any form of compensation, fee or donation whatsoever, either direct or indirect. Visit WhyQuit’s Financial Disclosure page for more detailed information.