Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to kick your cigarette habit and improve your health in the New Year.
Overcoming a nicotine addiction can be tough, but with a few simple tips and some local resources to support you, it will be much easier to stick to your resolution.
There are plenty of resources in San Mateo County to help you stay on track.
The county created a four-part QuitKit that includes effective strategies and tips on quitting smoking. It includes your favorite hard candies, tasty cinnamon sticks and any other smoke-free substitutes to resist cravings.
County programs include:
2171 Junipero Serra Blvd, suite 720, Daly City
Types Of Service: Adult smoking cessation groups and youth smoking cessation groups throughout the County Cost: Free to San Mateo County residents, includes free nicotine replacement therapy patches
Mills-Peninsula Health Services
100 South San Mateo Drive, San Mateo
Type Of Service: Fresh Start cessation groups Cost: $65; $55 for seniors over 62
Kaiser Permanente Medical Group; Health Education Department
Redwood City: (650) 299-2433
1140 Veterans Blvd., Redwood City
South San Francisco: (650) 742-2439
1200 El Camino Real South San Francisco
Type Of Service: Calling it Quits (one session class, Free to members, $20/non-members); ExSmoker's Support Group (Free); Freedom from Cigarettes stop smoking groups (6 sessions two times per week, Free to members, $65/nonmembers)
Now that you know of places you can turn to for support, start the quitting process by thinking about why you want to quit.
Are you worried you could get a smoking-related disease? Are you concerned smoking could prevent you from seeing your children or grandchildren grow up?
Record your reasons for quitting and keep the list with you at all times to serve as a reminder about why your resolution is important to you.
Setting a quit date is the next step towards success, according to the American Cancer Society.
If your holiday celebrations are continuing through the first weeks of the month, Jan. 1 may not be the right date for you to kick the habit. Instead, ditch the cigs later in the month when your mind and body are ready for a fresh, new beginning.
In the weeks leading up to your quit date, trade your favorite cigarettes for other, less appealing varieties. Switch to low-tar filters or menthols, for example, if you normally don't smoke those kinds of cigarettes.
This will make the habit of smoking less appealing, making it easier for you to quit. Once your quit date arrives, throw out all of your ashtrays, matches and lighters and go cold turkey.
Many smokers find that kicking the habit completely, with no nicotine replacements or medications, is the best bet.
If you relapse, don't panic. Identify what it was that triggered your desire to smoke and come up with ways to avoid and overcome that trigger in the future.
Quitting is a process and most smokers attempt to quit several times before they are able to do so for good—but don’t let that discourage you.
Neil Jones, whose name has been changed, is a retired physician who tried to quit smoking six times before committing to a cigarette-free lifestyle 27 years ago.
“When I was in medical school, I held a patient’s cancerous lung in my hands and saw what it was doing to their health. Afterwards, I stepped outside for a cigarette," he said. “It was really hard to quit but I knew I had to keep trying.”
If you aren't able to kick the habit on your own, or with aids such as nicotine gum or the nicotine patch, don't give up! Sometimes all you need is a little support. Ask your friends and family to aid you in your efforts to quit smoking.
TELL US: Are you trying to quit smoking? Have you successfully quit smoking? What local resources helped you stay on track? Share in the comments below.