Staying Tobacco Free: 3 Tips from Former Smokers

Whether you’ve tried quitting once or a thousand times, staying tobacco free can be hard, but don’t give up. Check out these tips from former smokers. In your journey to being tobacco free, it’s important to know you’re not alone.

1. Find People Who Inspire You

Many smokers have discovered something amazing — quitting is easier when you focus on friends and family. For Vikki, it was the birth of her grandson that prompted her to get help. “I didn’t want my grandkids to be around smoke, so just a few months before my grandson’s first birthday, I decided to call and get help. I feel better, and I know I smell better.” Since that day 13 years ago, Vicki has been totally smokefree.

For others, their children can get them through. “I smoked until the age of 34 when I found out our daughter could be harmed by my smoking,” said John. “I couldn’t wear the patch because of a reaction against it. I had to quit cold turkey, and I needed to quit because of our daughter. And I did it!”

2. Replace Smoking with a New Passion

When you quit, you’ll have more time on your hands — and that can be dangerous when cravings attack. To keep your mind focused, explore new hobbies and interests. For Lorri, this strategy was key to her success. “I finally got sick and tired of feeling sick and tired,” she said. “I started running. I’ve done countless 5Ks, 10Ks, 3 half marathons and 2 full marathons… best decision I’ve ever made was to quit smoking.”

You don’t have to be a triathlete to succeed. Painting, drawing, dancing, cooking, photography… the possibilities are endless. Plus, with all that cash you’re NOT spending on cigarettes, you’ll have more money to pursue your new passion.

To keep your hands and mind busy, the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline offers a variety of free crosswords, adult coloring pages, music playlists and more. Check them out below.

3. Write Down Your Reasons for Quitting

Sometimes, the best way to hold yourself accountable is by writing down why you quit in the first place. Jade got right to the point. “Write down reasons why you want to quit and read them over and over,” she said. For Jade, it was pregnancy — and eight years later, she’s still going strong.

Journaling your reasons is therapeutic because it keeps the struggle in perspective.

Reminding yourself what you’re fighting for can deliver motivation when the going gets tough.

Sometimes a simple post can keep you on track. “I didn’t trust myself, so I posted it on Facebook,” said Randy R. “I knew if I started again, I would never hear the end of it… it worked! Haven’t had a cigarette in over 18 months now. Thank you, Facebook!”

Whether you’re trying to quit, or just thinking about quitting, the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline is here to help. For more info on our free services and strategies for how to quit tobacco use, call 1-800-QUIT NOW any time, or visit OKhelpline.com.

Have more questions? Check out some frequently asked questions regarding the Helpline!