How to Quit Smoking when You Don't Really Want to

Three Parts:Finding the Motivation to Quit SmokingReaching Out to a FriendMaking a Plan to Quit Smoking

When friends or family members are urging you to quit smoking (even if you don't really want to) it can be hard to know the right thing to do. If you truly value these relationships, you may at least make an effort to quit smoking. Their pestering may get you thinking about quitting, but in all honesty, the only way you will be successful is if you want this for yourself.

Part 1
Finding the Motivation to Quit Smoking

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    Find an addiction counselor. He or she is a trained professional who can be very useful in helping you find a reason for quitting. They talk to people about addiction every day and have extensive understanding of the most difficult aspects of quitting.
    • Look up one in your area. If you enjoy bonding with others, group counseling can also be effective with addictions.[1]
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    Look up reasons to quit. Perhaps everyone has been lecturing you about smoking, but you don't really understand the hazards yourself. Browse online about the benefits of quitting cigarettes on helpful sites like or the CDC. Knowing just what you stand to gain from quitting might inspire you to move forward with actually quitting.
    • Connect with real life stories. Read about people who live with the devastating effects of smoking.
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    Find out what's really in cigarette smoke. According to the American Lung Association, there are more than 600 ingredients inside a cigarette. These ingredients combine to form over 7,000 chemical when the cigarette is lit. 69 of those chemicals can cause cancer.[2]
    • Some of the ingredients in cigarettes and smoke are: tar, lead, acetone, arsenic, butane, carbon monoxide, ammonia, and formaldehyde.
    • Maybe you've always heard that you should stop smoking because it's bad for you. Now, you know exactly why cigarettes are unhealthy.
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    Consider how quitting will benefit those around you. When you smoke, you not only jeopardize your own health, but you also endanger the lives of others by exposing them to second-hand smoke.[3]
    • Second-hand smoke can cause cancer in your loved ones. Those around you are also at risk of becoming ill with colds and flus more often as well as having heart disease, respiratory problems, and even having trouble getting pregnant.
    • Studies have shown that parents who smoke often raise children who end up smoking, too. So, quitting today could make a difference in your kid's life tomorrow.[4]

Part 2
Reaching Out to a Friend

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    Seek out the advice of a friend or associate who has quit smoking. This person's first-hand experience with smoking and quitting might inspire you to quit more than your family members' lectures. Ask the person to recommend a few useful strategies. They may even suggest or accompany you to a local support group.
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    Lean on a close friend or family member for support. If this is one of the people who pressured you to quit, all the better. Make sure this person agrees to hold you accountable and offer encouragement once you decide to actually stop smoking.
    • Research shows that having some form of support when trying to quit an addiction can assist you in being more successful.[5] Your support group can be there on days when you really want to reach for that cigarette. Phoning a friend or spending time with someone you care about can prevent you from relapsing.
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    Join a local support group or online forum.[6] Try to find a group such as Nicotine Anonymous or something similar at a community center near you. Even if you have not quite worked up the nerve to quit altogether, attending a few of these meetings and hearing the struggles and successes of others might be just what you need to take the next step towards quitting.

Part 3
Making a Plan to Quit Smoking

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    Decide which things you'll use to help curb cravings. Keep some essentials with you at all times. The following will help you anywhere you are:
    • Alternative "cigarettes"
    • Cinnamon flavored gum
    • Mouthwash and dental floss to get the taste out of your mouth.
    • A pen, a small rock or string of beads to fill the place of the physical action of holding the cigarettes.
    • The phone number of someone who will support you during difficult moments.
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    Consider nicotine replacement therapy. There are several over-the-counter nicotine replacement products that can help ease you out of smoking. There are types of patches, gums, lozenges, nasal sprays, inhalers or sublingual tablets that deliver smaller doses of nicotine into the body.
    • Side effects could include: nightmares, insomnia, and skin irritation for patches; mouth soreness, difficult breathing, hiccups, and jaw pain for gum; mouth and throat irritation and coughing for nicotine inhalers; throat irritation and hiccups for nicotine lozenge; and throat and nasal irritation as well as runny nose if the nasal spray is used.
    • E-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, but they are operated by battery. An atomizer heats a solution of liquid, flavorings, and nicotine that creates a mist that is inhaled. E-cigarettes look promising for quitting, but there are some cautions. While they do not contain as many harmful chemicals as cigarettes, they do contain nicotine. For someone who doesn't really want to quit, this could be a good compromise for the moment[7].
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    Track your habits. You need to become knowledgeable about your smoking habit in order to defeat it. Observe yourself for a day or two. Write down your specific smoking behaviors. This will help you later on.[8]
    • How many cigarettes are you smoking per day?
    • When are you smoking? Morning? After lunch? Evening?
    • For what reason are you smoking? To ease your nerves? To relax you before sleep?
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    Set a quit date. The American Cancer Society states that the quit date is a very significant, almost ceremonial, date. Choose a day within the coming month for you to officially stop smoking, and stick to it. This day can be a special day such as a birthday, a holiday, or maybe just a Monday.[9]
    • Mark the day in your calendar and alert all your friends so that they can prepare to encourage you on your journey. This symbolic ritual helps you to get yourself prepared mentally to no longer being a smoker. Count down each day and aim to become more confident about your decision.
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    Make a plan as your quit date approaches. In the days or weeks before your quit date, you need to work out some details that can influence your success. Purchase any smoking cessation aids like patches or nicotine gum. See a doctor if you would prefer to try prescription medications.[10]
    • You need to find healthier habits to add to your life that meet the same objective as smoking does for you.[11] Becoming more active physically is usually one upside to quitting smoking. This will also help you offset any sudden weight gain.
    • If you simply enjoy the oral sensation, pick up a bag of lollipops or straws that you can put in your mouth when a craving strikes. If you depend on smoking to relax, download a relaxation tape or calming music and start practicing meditation or yoga.
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    Decide how to reward yourself. Use rewards as a motivation to keep you from smoking. If you have something exciting to look forward to, it will encourage you not to smoke. Rewards can be big or small, as long as they are things you really want to work towards.[12]
    • Buy yourself an ice cream or cupcake for getting through the first day. Or, treat yourself to a relaxing massage once you go without smoking for a week.
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    Whittle down your habit gradually rather than quitting cold turkey. Make a plan to cut down smoking from two packs a day to one pack a day over the course of several weeks, two cigarettes at a time, for instance. It takes the pressure off of quitting when you don't really want to, and you benefit from cutting down and smoking less.You can try taking a few cigarettes out of each new pack you buy until you are taking out more and more to wean yourself off. Once you start smoking less you will be more prepared when your quit date arrives.[13]
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    Keep busy on your quit day. Throw any remaining cigarettes away. Keep gum/water handy. When day one is done, remember that today and the next week are going to be really hard, but you made it! Remember to treat yourself!
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    Keep your support system updated on your progress. Make sure to brag to friends, family, and co-workers when you have conquered Day #2, Day #3, or even completed a full week of not smoking. Every bit of progress counts. Plus, their praise and encouragement will help you persist on the road to being smoke-free.
    • Studies have revealed that we are much more likely to commit and persist during a challenge if we broadcast our intentions socially.[14] Log on to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or your personal blog and let the world know that you are making a commitment to quitting cigarettes. Think about it this way: you'll have an even bigger support group!
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    Avoid all social smoking gatherings, for the first month. This includes any big parties or outdoor eating events. Also, avoid your usual triggers for smoking such as drinking alcohol or coffee or taking a smoke break with co-workers. Keep busy and remind yourself with each passing hour and day that you are a non-smoker! You are doing it![15]
    • Many of us have developed associations between smoking and other activities like drinking alcohol or coffee. Do what you can to avoid those things you associate with smoking during that first month, or for as long as it takes for you. Don't test yourself until you're ready.
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    Stay strong. After the first month, and maybe for the rest of your life, you might still think of how nice a cigarette could be after a good meal. The thoughts become easier to ignore over time. Your life as a non-smoker will be healthier and hopefully more enjoyable without the constant torment of being told not to smoke.[16]
    • Keep a positive outlook. You may relapse and start back smoking several times before you totally kick the habit. A Gallup poll showed that most U.S. smokers try to quit an average of 3.6 times in their lifetimes.[17]
    • You have formed an addiction to nicotine and it won't be easy to break the habit. Stay consistent with living a healthier life, avoiding triggers, and finding better ways to cope with stress. You can do this!
    • Think about the long run. If you need more help, ask for it and seek it. Get patches, herbal supplements, or nicotine gum. Look up pictures of lung cancer victims and read stories from surviving families.


  • See How to Quit Smoking instead to get some ideas on why you might want to quit, for your own benefit. Remember you don't need to actually quit just yet, saying "yes, I would like to quit" is what you need to say first. When you do quit, you do all the work and you get all the credit. It is not about someone else. It is not about their reasons.
  • Don't lie to your spouse or partner. If you sneak a cigarette, let them know.
  • Celebrate your achievement. If you quit (even due to pestering) you must understand that no one forced you to quit. Quitting smoking is not easy. Take pride in your accomplishment.
  • Have something to snack on. i.e. keep a bag of baby carrots with you for the day and have your healthy snack while filling/subsiding a craving.

Article Info

Categories: Smoking Addictions