The Quitter’s Journey: How to leave tobacco behind for good

Part 2 of a 3-part Series

During – the first few weeks

Peaceful momentWhether you smoke, chew, or vape, there’s no doubt that quitting tobacco is a challenging journey. But there are so many good reasons to do so, and you can succeed. Last week we talked about Before – setting the stage . Today we give you some proven strategies for getting through the first few weeks after quitting.

Let’s be real – this isn’t easy. Research suggests nicotine may be as addictive as heroin or cocaine. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms may include: feeling irritable, angry, or anxious; tobacco cravings, and feeling hungrier than usual. A good tobacco cessation program can assist you with all of these challenges. Here are some other tips:

  • Self-care is critical during this stage. Stay hydrated, eat well, and get enough sleep.
  • If possible, avoid places, activities, and people you associate with smoking.
  • When the cravings hit, there are many things that help. Try sugar-free lollipops, keep your hands busy, take deep breaths, or use affirmations. Here are more ideas from the American Cancer Society.
  • Find new solutions for coping with stress, such as exercise, yoga, or meditation.
  • Remember that withdrawal symptoms are the toughest in the first few days, and usually taper off over a few weeks.

Ready to quit now? Learn about the Quit For Life program.

We’d like to hear from you! What have you tried in the past to cope with nicotine withdrawal? What are you trying this time? Please tell us in the comments below.

Next up: Thursday, November 9, we’ll explore the “After” stage – ways to remain tobacco-free forever, and what to do if you backslide. Check back with us then, or follow this blog to get an email reminder when it’s posted.



About the author: Kelly Eastlund, a member of PacificSource’s Marketing Communications team, gave up cigarettes more than 25 years ago after three quit attempts. She lists a family history of heart disease as one of her top reasons.

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