Breathe DC

Quitting Smoking Cold Turkey

A white table with cigarettes and flowers on it.

A pile of cigarettes sitting on top of each other.

4 Steps to Quit Smoking Cold Turkey

Does this describe where you are with smoking: You’ve made the decision to quit smoking to live a healthier lifestyle for you and your family. You’ve decided you’re going to make a clean break.

If this sounds like you, or where you’re headed, we applaud you! And we want you to know that Breathe DC is here to help you with resources, advice and support every step of the way. Quitting smoking has many benefits, but it’s no easy task, especially quitting cold turkey. There are some advantages and some challenges–some pros and cons–to quitting cold turkey. Here are some pros and cons to carefully consider when you’re thinking of quitting smoking cold turkey:

Pros – You reach your end goal of quitting faster
– Your body sees benefit from being smoke-free immediately, rather than later
– You get past your peak of withdrawal symptoms sooner

– Even though it’s temporary, withdrawal symptoms may be more intense
– Requires a lot of mental strength, especially if you are a long time smoker

Because each peson and every situation is different, for you there may be other, more personal pros and cons to quitting cold turkey. It’s helpful if you make a personal list of pros and cons to consider for your personal situation and health needs.

Quitting Smoking Cold Turkey Can Be Done. Here’s How!
Once you’ve considered the positives, you’ve prepared yourself to confront any negatives and you’ve decided that quitting cold turkey is the right move for you, we suggest a 4-Step approach that will help you succeed.

Quitting Smoking Cold Turkey: 4 Steps to Success

1. Mentally Prepare
Write down on a note pad, or using the notes app on your smartphone, all of the reasons you are quitting smoking and keep with you at all times. This will help you ignore negative thoughts such as “Just one cigarette won’t hurt.”

2. Embrace Support
Quitting smoking can be a personal journey, but also a difficult one you don’t have to do alone. Seek support from friends or family, quit smoking with a partner or join an online support group.

3. Expect and Prepare for Withdrawal Symptoms
Many smokers who are quitting experience nausea, fatigue, inability to sleep, increased appetite and anxiety among other things. To be ready for this temporary rough patch, it’s a good idea to keep a water bottle close by to stay hydrated and healthy snacks to deal with hunger.

4. Get Rid of Reminders
Throw away all lighters, matches, ashtrays and clothes that may still smell like smoke. Also, separate yourself from friends or family you used to smoke with at home and work or even encourage them to join you in quitting.

As with any health activity, we encourage you to talk with your doctor or healthcare professional about the changes you’re making to your lifestyle. For support, resources and advice to quit smoking, email our team of tobacco education and cessation specialists. We’re here to help.

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June 2024