Head Tricks to Help You Quit
Smoking is a habit as well as an addiction and thus susceptible to change using some familiar -- and sound -- psychological tricks. Among them:
Gradually reduce the amount of each cigarette smoked by drawing a mark one-quarter of the way between the filter and the tip. Smoke only to the mark. Each week, move the mark toward the tip, until only one-quarter of each cigarette is smoked.
**Cut back on the number of cigarettes smoked daily. Pack-a-day smokers are advised to discard two cigarettes from the pack each morning and smoke the rest of the pack. The following week, discard four cigarettes and so on until a "pack" contains just 10 to 12 cigarettes. Then move to complete abstinence.
**Make a list of why you want to quit smoking. Keep the list with your cigarettes as a reminder.
**Before you quit, develop a list of risky situations that are likely to tempt you to smoke again and think of strategies to counter them. In other words, if you always smoke when you go meet friends at a bar, bring along something that will occupy your mouth and hands instead of smoking. Possibilities: gum, mints and/or nicotine replacement including nicotine gum, inhaler or nasal spray. Better yet: meet your friends at another location where you may not be as tempted to smoke.
**Write a goodbye letter to cigarettes and tobacco, a symbolic way of letting go and a task required of all participants in the weeklong inpatient tobacco cessation program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.