While many cigarette smokers try to quit cold turkey, cessation usually takes a few attempts before an individual can stop smoking forever. Below are a few strategies to break the habit and successfully transition to a nonsmoker. You do not need to choose just one of these methods! Many experts agree that multiple cessation techniques used simultaneously increase the chances of success.

1. Replace smoking with another activity. Before you quit, choose a hobby to take the place of your smoking habit. Anything from making crafts to trying herbal teas can work. These kinds of activities will keep you busy and shift your focus away from your cravings. Taking up a physical activity like running will not only help you to avoid thinking about smoking, but it will also improve your heart, breathing, and overall health.

2. Avoid smoking triggers. Every smoker has prompts like people, places and things they associate with smoking. Many smokers who are in the early phase of quitting can pick up the habit again when they are around these personal triggers. Some common causes for relapse include:

  • Drinking alcohol or coffee
  • Going to a place where people smoke
  • Hanging out with smokers
  • Having smoking paraphernalia, like lighters and ash trays, around the house

Your triggers might be different from the ones listed. When you decide to quit, create your own list of events and items that personally provoke you to smoke. Avoiding triggers usually means changing up your routine for at least a little while.

3. Quit at a good time in your life. If you quit smoking when you are depressed or enduring an unusual amount of stress, you are less likely to succeed. Make a plan to stop on a certain day that works best for you and then stick to it. Once you have that day in mind, you can take other steps to make sure that you avoid triggers and stick to your plan.

4. Get some help. Quitting smoking can be difficult and may seem like a lonely process. Before your quit date, begin telling your friends and family about your goal. Be clear with them so they will be better able to understand what you are going through. Friends and family can offer support and advice as well as help you to avoid smoking triggers by temporarily changing their habits.

5. Do not have “just one” cigarette. As you quit, you may experience occasional nicotine cravings. The addiction may trick you into believing that you can have a token cigarette during cessation. Unfortunately, that one cigarette often turns into a relapse. Even if it you do not go back to smoking full time, smoking just one cigarette will make your quitting journey much more difficult.

If you feel yourself wanting a cigarette, tell yourself that you have to wait ten minutes. Go on a walk, call a friend or engage in the new hobby if you can. Cravings can pass after a ten–minute period. Fortunately, these kinds of intense desires and other physical symptoms usually will not last for more than a week after initiating smoking cessation.