10 Tips to Safely Quit Smoking

1. Deep breathing is perhaps the single most powerful and important technique, especially during the first few days of quitting. Every time you want a cigarette, inhale the deepest lung-full of air you can, and then, very slowly, exhale. Purse your lips so that the air must come out slowly. Repeat this 3 times, and with each exhale, imagine all the tension in your body just flowing out of you.

2. The first few days, drink LOTS of water and fluids to help flush out the nicotine and other poisons from your body.

3. Remember that the urge to smoke only lasts a few minutes, and will then pass. The urges gradually become farther and farther apart as the days go by.

4. Do your very best to stay away from alcohol, sugar and coffee the first week or longer, as these tend to stimulate the desire for a cigarette. Avoid fatty foods, as your metabolism will slow down a bit without the nicotine, and you may gain weight even if you eat the same amount as before quitting. So discipline about diet is extra important now.

5. Nibble on low calorie foods like celery, apples and carrots. Chew gum or suck on cinnamon sticks.

6. Stretch out your meals; eat slowly and wait a bit between bites.

7. Go to a gym, sit in the steam, exercise. Change your normal routine - take time to walk or even jog around the block or in a local park. Look in the yellow pages under Yoga, and take a class - they're GREAT! Get a one hour massage, take a long bath -- pamper yourself.

8. Ask for support from coworkers, friends and family members. Ask for their tolerance. Let them know you're quitting, and that you might be edgy or grumpy for a few days. If you don't ask for support, you certainly won't get any. If you do, you'll be surprised how much it can help. Take a chance -- try it and see!

9. Ask friends and family members not to smoke in your presence. Don't be afraid to ask. This is more important than you may realize.

10. To talk to a free live counselor, call the National Cancer Institute's free Smoking Quit line, 1-877-44U-Quit. Proactive counseling services by trained personnel will be provided to you, both before and after you quit smoking.

-- Patrick Reynolds, founder of the Foundation for a Smokefree America

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