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Your Guide to Lowering Blood Pressure NHLBI Logo
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Develop a Plan of Action

Step 1: Get ready to quit

I've set a target date to quit. I picked next Saturday, because it's a less stressful day than during the week. I wrote down on a piece of paper "I will quit smoking next Saturday," and I asked my son to sign it with me. I know he'll support me. Finally, I've decided to reward myself with some new music or books for every week that I'm not smoking.

Step 2: Survive "Day One!"

I'm going to throw out all of my cigarettes, ashtrays, and matches. On the big day, next Saturday, I promised my son Glen that I would take him to a movie and then buy us both something at the mall.

Step 3: Figure out what makes me want to smoke

I know that I have to find out my smoking "triggers" — what makes me want to smoke. I think my worst times are while I'm on the phone or after dinner.

Step 4: Find new habits

I know that I tend to smoke when I get stressed, so I've decided to try some new deep breathing exercises instead.

Step 5: Keep busy

I've already started a new walking club at work, so I'm all set to not smoke on my lunch break. I can take a walk instead. I've also cut up some carrot sticks and bought a huge pack of gum to help keep my mouth distracted.

Step 6: Know what to expect

Unfortunately, I know that I might experience headaches, irritability, tiredness, constipation, or trouble concentrating. I know that this might be unpleasant, but I'll keep reminding myself that these are signs that my body is recovering from smoking. The good news is that most symptoms end within 4 weeks.

Step 7: Ask for help

I'll check with my doctor about nicotine gum or a nicotine patch. These might be options to help me.

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