Steps to take on the journey to a smoke-free future

Stop smoking sign on a bench

Going smoke-free is the most important decision you can make to improve your health and quality of life. And just by making that decision, you’ve already taken the first big step toward reaching that goal.

After that big decision comes the transition to a smoke-free lifestyle, which can be challenging, but can be made much easier by planning your next steps.

In honour of National Non-Smoking Week, here are four tips and tools from Operational Stress Injury Clinic clinical manager Patrick Daigle to help you make the leap:

1. Set a date

First, you need to set a date to start your journey. During the time between now and then, take time to think about the physical and psychological supports you’ll need.

Create a strategy for your smoke-free journey. You can reduce over time, stop immediately or use a nicotine replacement therapy, such as nicotine patches, lozenges, gum or inhalers. Medications like Champix or Zyban are also available.

2. Get rid of reminders

Removing things that you associate with smoking can help make the transition easier. Get rid of physical reminders, like ashtrays and lighters, clean your car and avoid smoke-break areas.

Since smoking has become a part of your routine, you may need to replace the activity with something else. Instead, go for a walk or take time to call a friend.

3. Have a support system

Support throughout your journey is the key to success. Recovery from addiction is hard; surround yourself with those who have empathy and can help, and those who share the same smoke-free lifestyle.

Professional supports can also be a great resource. Talk to your family doctor, pharmacist or call 8-1-1 to get the guidance you need to live smoke-free.

4. Follow the 4 Ds

• Drink lots of water
• Delay for five to seven minutes; see if the urge will pass
• Do something else
• Deep breathing

Remember, slips and relapses are common. Most people try many times before they are successful for good. Stay focused on your goal.

There is no day like the present to take that first step on your smoke-free journey.