No matter how long you’ve been puffing, quitting smoking is tremendously hard. “It’s rare to only need one attempt. According to research, the average person goes through five to eight serious quit attempts,” says Scott McIntosh, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Rochester. “Quitting a highly addictive substance is one of the toughest things you ever have to do in life,” adds Dr. McIntosh. But keep trying; you’ll learn something from each attempt. And aim to avoid these mistakes Dr. McIntosh has seen sabotage other well-meaning smokers trying to quit.

1. Lack Of Planning

When motivation grabs you by the collar, and you feel you finally made the important decision to make a lifelong behavioral change, you may want to dive right in and try to quit cold-turkey. But play it smart and plan ahead. First, set a quit date. Then, talk with your doctor. “Smoking is an addiction, not a habit,”says Dr. McIntosh. By involving your health care provider in your quit plans, you’ll only have more support overall for your quit attempt. Doctors can also prescribe and advise as needed with any medication plans. If you are planning on using any medications, have the prescriptions filled soon after your office visit. Plan to get ongoing advice and support by using a telephone quitline (including 1-800-QUIT-NOW) and web-based intervention sites (including and

2. Not Following Directions

When using medications, like Nicotine Gum, which are usually taken for eight to 12 weeks, follow the directions carefully. If they’re not followed correctly and you keep smoking, you will think that the medication isn’t working.  An example is varenicline (Chantix). It’s supposed to be taken with a full glass of water after a meal. If not taken correctly, the side effects can be worse, which may discourage you.

3. Doing It Alone

Some people are embarrassed, or want to test their will power, or don’t want anyone to know, or they start out confident that they can do it alone. Involve a quit buddy, tell friends and family, call a quitline, or use a website.

Avoid Triggers

It’s important to know (and avoid) the triggers to prevent a relapse. These may include the smell of certain drinks, or being in certain circumstances or at certain places. Keep using the support systems you find helpful. Always know how to access them, even long after a successful quit attempt.

Did You make any of these mistakes when trying to quit smoking?

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