Written by Michelle Chen
Quitting smoking is tough, and for many, takes more than one try. It may be one of the hardest things to do, but it will be one of the best decisions of your life. In addition to saving thousands of dollars each year, you will protect your family from cancer-causing toxins and live a longer and healthier life. Your heart will benefit from the relief—your risk for heart attack and heart disease will go down when you quit. After one year, your risk for heart disease will be half that of a continuing smoker’s. Over time, it will be that of a non-smoker’s. For American Heart Month, we encourage you to kick the butt for better heart health.
7 Ways to Make Quitting Smoking Easier
- Prepare yourself. Have support—from family, friends, a counselor or provider, or an online program—ready by your quit date.
- Create new habits. If certain places and situations tempt you to smoke, come up with new routines. Instead of joining your coworkers for a smoke break, tell them you are quitting and take a walk instead.
- Use medications. Talk with a counselor or provider about nicotine patches and other medications that can reduce cravings. Many are covered by insurance.
- Stay away from that cigarette! There is no such thing as having ‘just one.’ The first puff can make you start back up.
- Find a quit buddy. Ask a friend or coworker who smokes to quit with you. Support each other through the quitting process.
- Reward yourself. Use the money you have saved from quitting for a movie night or a dinner with your family. Marking milestones can improve spirits for all.
- Be kind to yourself. If you start smoking again, don’t be discouraged. You have not failed—you have learned about the triggers and situations that make you smoke. It takes a few tries for most people to quit for good.
We know quitting can be hard, but your health improves the moment you stop. Your loved ones will be thankful for it, too. Are you ready to take the next steps, but don’t know where to begin? Check out more tips and reasons to quit, and learn more about secondhand smoke.
At the Health Center, we can help patients quit or cut back on smoking:
- Charles B. Wang Community Health Center
Internal Medicine (Manhattan)
You can also get free patches and help from:
- Asian Americans for Equality
(212) 979-8988 (Chinese)
- Asian Smokers’ Quitline
- NY State Smokers’ Quitline
This article is made possible with funding from the RCHN Community Health Foundation and adapted from NYCDOHMH’s Health Bulletin.
Michelle Chen is a Health Educator at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. She has a B.A. in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies from Barnard College. She is interested in the intersection of public health and Asian American activism.