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Health Briefs

Need help staying tobacco- free?

Staying Tobacco Free

If you quit smoking recently, congratulations! Doing so will reap health benefits, whatever your age. But staying tobacco-free can be a challenge, especially during the first few weeks after you go "cold turkey."

When you're fighting the urge to light up again, one good place to find supportive help is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website, www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts. A recent posting featured, "4 Tips to Stay Tobacco Free." (If you don't see the article highlighted on the site, find it by typing the title into the search box.)

Included is advice on dealing with the cravings that beset many people after they give up nicotine. Tips for dealing with such cravings include:

  • Keep items on hand that can replace your cigarette. These might include toothpicks, sugar-free gum, or healthy snacks like raisins or celery.
  • Relax by breathing deeply and thinking of something peaceful.
  • Change your scenery. Go outside, inside, or to a different room to distract yourself.
  • Remember how hard you worked to quit and focus on the reasons why you did.

Avoid tobacco 'triggers'

The FDA also suggests knowing your tobacco "triggers" and working to avoid them. "Certain locations, situations, and people may cause you to crave nicotine. Be aware of what makes you want to use tobacco products," the FDA advises on its website. "Avoiding triggers" may mean exchanging your morning cup of coffee for a fruit smoothie or other healthful drink, for example.

The FDA also suggests asking friends and family members for their support. Also, stay positive. If you do give into temptation, don't be discouraged. Keep on trying. You can succeed.

The article also offers links to other government-approved resources dedicated to helping you stay tobacco-free.