You bring the will—here's the way

There’s no doubt about it: for many people, quitting smoking is an enormous challenge. But you can do it. One of the best ways you can help yourself is to carefully prepare for a life without smoking before you quit. Take these four steps to get started.

Anticipate your smoking triggers—and plan how to handle them

Do you feel a strong desire to smoke when you are angry? When you are bored? When you are with someone who smokes? Plan ahead for what else you will do when one of your smoking triggers comes up.

Maybe it’s your favorite hobby, such as knitting or painting, or a sport you love. Maybe it’s something simple like taking a leisurely walk for some fresh air. For some people, chewing something like carrot sticks or sunflower seeds can help replace the cigarette habit. Whatever it is, have a plan for what you will do instead of light up.

Ready? Set? Quit!

Pick a Quit Day and plan for how you will make it through that crucial first day. Here are some tips that may help:

  • Make sure to choose a low-stress day. The day you are making a presentation at work or hosting an important event may not be the best choice for your official Quit Day
  • Choose a day when you can avoid places where there is likely to be a lot of tobacco or alcohol
  • Enlist friends and family for support, and let them know it’s your first tobacco-free day so they can offer encouragement
  • Drink plenty of water to help reduce cravings
  • Keep your hands and mouth busy. For example, chewing gum, eating small, healthy snacks, and playing with a paperclip or pen may help to distract you

Indulge yourself with tailor-made rewards

Quitting smoking is a big achievement that deserves an equally big reward. So give it to yourself. Do something special—something that you love. Book regular massages, or plan a special dinner out with friends. Visit a great museum or attend a concert by your favorite music group.

Another great idea: sock away the money you used to spend on tobacco, and use it for a special vacation. You can shoo away those tobacco cravings by concentrating on researching your chosen vacation spot instead.

Consider medicine that may help you quit

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several medicines to help people quit smoking. Studies have shown that you may double your chances of quitting successfully if you use an approved medicine, even without added supports like counseling. Your odds get even better when you combine medicine with counseling or other strategies1.

You won’t have to take these medicines forever—just for as long as it takes to help you quit. These medicines are available through Express Scripts for a small co-pay. Speak with your doctor. If you decide that medication is right for you, just be sure to obtain a prescription (even for over-the-counter products).

No matter when you decide to stop, you can start reaping the benefits of living tobacco free. So get going on your plan to quit.

If you need additional motivation, we urge you to reach out to one of the Care Consultants at Anthem or Cigna:

Anthem BlueCare Consultants: 1-877-898-0747
Cigna Care Consultants: 1-800-842-4221

Benefits of being smoke free

You’ll realize some physical benefits of quitting tobacco immediately, while others may take time. But the longer you stick with it, the healthier your body is likely to become.

Here are just some of the benefits you may experience from quitting2:

1. Stead LF, et al. (2008). Nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1).

2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Reducing Tobacco Use: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2000.