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Tips for Your First Smoke-Free Week


Updated June 11, 2014

Woman putting out a cigarette
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Nicotine is a powerful addiction. If you have tried to quit smoking, you know how hard it can be. Smoking cessation puts us through both physical and psychological withdrawal. Here are some tips to help you with your first smoke-free week.

Nicotine Cravings

Drink a lot of liquids, especially water.
Try herbal teas or fruit juices. Limit coffee, soft drinks, and alcohol - they can increase the urge to smoke.

Limit sugar and fatty foods. Try to spend most of your snacking calories on healthy foods like carrots and other vegetables, fruit, air-popped popcorn, or sugar-free hard candies to suck on. Don't skip meals.

Incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine.  Exercise will distract you from thinking about smoking and boosts mood by releasing endorphins

Get more sleep. Try to go to sleep earlier and get more rest.  Insomnia is common during early cessation.  If you're having trouble sleeping, try some of these tips.

Take deep breaths. When cravings hit, practice deep breathing.  A few deep breaths will bring you back in balance quickly.

Distract yourself.  What we pay attention to has a habit of growing.  Don't let thoughts of smoking run freely through your mind.  Use this list of 101 Things to Do Instead of Smoking for ideas, or make your own list of activities you can do when the urge hits.

Change your habits. Use a different route to work, eat breakfast in a different place, or get up and jump into the shower before that first cup of coffee.  Expect to feel awkward to begin with, but the more practice you put into new routines, the more comfortable they will become.

Do something to reduce your stress.   We all used cigarettes as our go-to stress neutralizer and now we have to begin the work of managing tension in new ways. Take a hot shower, read a book, or get outside for a quick walk around the block.

More Tips

  • Create a List of Reasons for quitting, and read it every day.
  • Avoid places you connect with smoking for now.
  • Develop a plan for relieving high-stress situations.
  • Listen to relaxing music.
  • Watch a funny movie.
  • Reward yourself daily for the work you're putting into cessation.
  • Call a friend you can trust to talk you through it.
  • Use the 5 D's to help you manage the discomforts that are normal during the first week.


Consider looking in on a support forum for smoking cessation here or elsewhere on the Web.  There is nothing more beneficial for managing the ups and downs that come with nicotine withdrawal than getting help from people who have been through it.

Read how others have survived nicotine withdrawal.

While the first week of smoking cessation is intense for almost everyone, remember that better days are ahead.  The discomforts won't last long, so dig your heels in and go the distance.  It's worth it!

Related Video
How to Effectively Quit Smoking

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