Kicking the tobacco habit one step at a time

Kicking the tobacco habit one step at a time

November 6, 2019
Lacy WolffBy Lacy Wolff, ERS Health Program Administrator

We all know that tobacco is harmful for our health. The U.S. Surgeon General warns us on every tobacco product package. When it comes to quitting, however, there is no magic solution. It takes hard work and determination to successfully change any behavior.

If you or a loved one is interested in quitting a tobacco habit, these suggestions can help with the transition.
  • Find your “why.” Ask yourself, “Why do I want to quit?” Is it health? Money? To set a good example for children or grandchildren? Remember your “why” when you have the strong desire to use tobacco.
  • Know that cravings come and go. Find a distraction to help you through the craving. Take a walk, practice a breathing technique, talk to a friend or listen to motivational music.
  • Have a plan to deal with triggers. If you smoke or dip while driving, expect to have strong sensations when you get into your car. Have a plan in place to manage the cravings.
  • Visualize. See yourself as a non-tobacco user. Refer to yourself as a non-smoker or tobacco-free rather than someone who is trying to quit.
  • Tell your friends. Ask friends and family for support. Have a plan to deal with any mood changes you experience.
  • Take it one day at a time. Remember the first three days are the most challenging. It gets a little easier every day.

More help to become tobacco-free

Smokers who reach out for help through tobacco cessation programs and counselors double or even triple their chances of quitting successfully, according to the American Cancer Society. Take advantage of the tobacco cessation programs and resources offered by your health plan: Read ERS’ tobacco policy to learn about state-mandated certification requirements for tobacco use and more resources to help you quit.
Button that reads The Great American Smokeout November 21Make the Great American Smokeout event on November 21 your day to start your journey toward a tobacco-free life!