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Living smoke-free [View Image]

Ready to quit tobacco use?
Email icanquit@vcuhealth.org to get help.

Living smoke-free is an opportunity for you to live a healthier, likely longer and better quality of life. After quitting, your senses of taste and smell come back to life. You can also go many more places and enjoy many more experiences as a nonsmoker, like taking a long trip without the discomfort of being unable to smoke on the bus, train or plane.

But living smoke-free is not stress-free. Smokers often name stress as a reason for relapsing. You'll need to learn new ways to cope with stress instead of using nicotine. Keep doing the things you did to avoid smoking when you first quit, and keep a list of activities you enjoy, like watching a movie or reading, that you can do when you feel the urge to smoke. Living smoke-free gets easier with time.

Here are some steps you can take to help you stay smoke-free, now and for the long haul.

Know your triggers

Even years after quitting, your triggers can make you want to smoke. Understand your triggers so you can avoid them or be prepared to face them. 

Fight cravings

The longer you go without smoking, the more your cravings will fade. But beating cravings is easier when you have a plan. Make a list of things you can do to help you get past cravings and then keep that list handy.

Stay positive

Quitting is a process, so take it one day at a time. Keeping a positive perspective can help you get through it.

Reward yourself

Staying smoke-free is a huge accomplishment, so reward yourself regularly. Use the money you would have spent on cigarettes to buy yourself something special. Or treat yourself to things that don’t cost anything, like a hike with friends.

Build a support system

Getting support from family and friends can help you stay smoke-free. Let them know what they can do to help.

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