How to be awesome at quitting smoking

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Tired of smelling like Pete Doherty's ashtray? There's no better time to kick that nasty habit than the start of the new year. Don't think of it as a resolution; think of it as being less disgusting than before. The steps to quitting smoking are easier said than done, but with some self-control and determination, it's certainly an attainable goal. Ryan Johnston from the Ohio Tobacco Quit Line offered these helpful tips for all the Joe Camels of the world.

1. Save the date

The first step requires a bit of foresight: Set a specific quit date. This is the final day of smoking, no questions asked. Make sure this is a reasonable date (two days from now is probably not realistic). Shoot for something in the range of a few weeks to a couple of months.

2. Chew on this!

A main component of smoking that many find difficult to give up is the oral fixation. Smokers get used to having something in their mouths and should seek healthy substitutes to fill that void. According to Johnston, toothpicks, straws, gum and mints are all suitable solutions. "Things with powerful flavors like cinnamon and cough drops work especially well."

3. Patch it up

Johnston recommends seeking medical assistance. Because the addictive powers of nicotine are so strong, quitting on sheer willpower can be too overwhelming for some people. Things like the nicotine patch and nicotine gum act as supportive aides and help smokers gradually wean themselves off of their tobacco crutches. The Ohio Tobacco Quit Line even offers two free weeks of the patch for Ohio residents, no strings attached.

4. Avoid other vices

Caffeine and alcohol often act as triggers for nicotine urges, so it's best to reduce or eliminate booze, soda and coffee consumption. Replace those things with lots of water and quitting will become much easier.

5. Get help

The Ohio Tobacco Help Line is free for all Ohio residents and is a great way to gain support during the demanding process of quitting. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for info.