How to Finally Quit Smoking
Today is the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, a day when people are encouraged to quit smoking — or plan to quit — and remain nonsmokers thereafter. It also happens to be the Gay American Smoke Out, which was introduced in 1994 by the Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center.
Although national statistics show that adult smoking rates have declined over the years, smoking is still prevalent among LGBT people. A study published last year in Nicotine & Tobacco Research from the University of Colorado Cancer Center found that gays and lesbians are almost twice as likely to smoke than straight people.
One of the possible reasons for this is stress, which has long been identified as a major contributing factor to smoking and one of the leading causes of relapse for those who have quit. Stress may play an especially important role for LGBT people, especially LGBT youth.
A study conducted by CenterLink (formerly the National Association of LGBT Community Centers) looked at 46 focus groups and found that “employment and relationship-related issues were common triggers for smoking, while larger issues like racism, homophobia, and transphobia were seen as playing a key role in why LGBT individuals were more likely to smoke than other people.”
Having helped smokers quit permanently for more than 25 years, I have identified five tips that can dramatically increase your chances of quitting smoking and remaining a nonsmoker — whether you choose to quit smoking today or any time after that.
Click through for five steps toward a smoke-free future.
TIP 3: Establish Three Agreements
It’s very beneficial to set up three agreements before becoming a nonsmoker. First, if you live with somebody who smokes, it is important that he or she agrees to never offer you a cigarette or leave cigarettes lying around the house (both of which are common causes of relapse). Second, institute the same agreement with coworkers, family members, and friends. The third and most important agreement is with yourself. The most common cause of relapse is accepting a cigarette that is offered to you. It is imperative that you make the agreement with yourself to never “have just one” cigarette or accept a cigarette that is offered to you once you have become a nonsmoker.
TIP 4: Clear Your Environment
The day before your quit date, be sure to remove all cigarettes and any smoking paraphernalia (lighters, ashtrays, etc.) from your home, car, and work environments. You are going to be a nonsmoker, and nonsmokers do not smoke cigarettes. Be sure you are thorough with your preparation. Countless relapses occur when nonsmokers discover a single cigarette that rolls out from under their car seat and resume their smoking habit.
DR. SCOTT LEWIS is the author of The Hypnosis Treatment Option and a recognized authority on the use of hypnosis to help people achieve their health and wellness goals. Check out highlights from his comedy hypnosis show at www.celebrityhypnotist.com.