How to Quit Smoking

Deciding to quit smoking is a step in the right direction. It can be difficult, but by preparing yourself, you will be more likely to quit for good. The following steps can help make quitting easier.


Step 1: Decide why you want to quit


Knowing why you want to quit will help keep you on track. Quitting will help protect your friends and family from secondhand smoke’s harmful effects.


Which of these reasons for quitting apply to you?


  • I want to be free of addiction.
  • I want to breathe easier.
  • I want to be healthy.
  • I want to be there for my family and friends in the long term.
  • I will be less likely to get lung cancer, emphysema and other health problems.
  • I want to set a good example for my children.
  • I want to save money.


Step 2: Get support and encouragement


Tell your family, friends and co-workers that you are quitting. Ask for their support.

  • Think about using quit-smoking medications, like the nicotine patch or gum. They can reduce your cravings and double your chance of quitting successfully.
  • Get the NYC HelpMeQuit app. This free resource helps you track your progress, provides a support network of other quitters and offers tips on how to outlast cravings. Download the app for Android or iOS.
  • Quit with a friend or talk to someone who has already quit.
  • Find a quit-smoking program that works for you:

Step 3: Prepare to quit


Rid your home and car of smoking paraphernalia, such as ashtrays and lighters. Throw out all cigarettes. Clean your home and belongings, such as clothes, so they don’t smell like smoke. Keep a smoke-free home.


Step 4: Pick a quit date


Choose a quit date carefully. Select a day when your routine will be as close to normal as possible. Circle the date on your calendar and alert friends, family and co-workers.


Step 5: Identify and learn how to deal with smoking triggers and cravings


Learn how to cope with triggers that make you want to smoke and use this information to develop a plan to stay smoke-free.


Step 6: Be ready to cope with cravings


Understand the triggers. Remember, the urge to smoke usually lasts three to five minutes. Be ready to combat your cravings. Change your routine. Change the people, places and things that make you want to smoke.


Step 7: Reward yourself


Reward yourself along the way to stay motivated. Acknowledge your success by counting days or treating yourself to a fun activity


Step 8: Connect with others and get tips to stay smoke-free


Quitting smoking is hard and staying smoke-free is even harder. Connect with people and build a support system to make it easier. Use social media to announce your efforts and progress so your friends can congratulate you and cheer you on! Connect with quitters on the NYC Quits Facebook page.


For more information on how to quit smoking, call 866-NY-QUITS or visit the NYS Smokers’ Quitline to apply for a free starter kit of quit-smoking medications. Coaching also available; call today to talk to a quit coach.