It’s hard to quit smoking – no doubt about it! But it is possible, and a good support system can make all the difference. Just ask the thousands of pregnant and postpartum women who have worked with Quit Coaches through the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation’s First Breath program:
“[My Quit Coach] was the friendship I needed in order to make me quit smoking. I feel that I would not have stopped smoking if it wasn’t for [her].”
“She makes me feel accountable. I get stuff done when I know someone’s depending on me.”
“Working with the Quit Coach, I felt better. I felt good when she would come visit and make me feel like she was proud of me that I didn’t smoke.”
When working on a task as difficult as quitting smoking, success is more likely when people have someone there they know and trust – someone they can call when they have questions, who knows their situation, and who can help them with their quit plan. For the women of First Breath, that’s their Quit Coach—a trained Tobacco Treatment Specialist who does home visits, makes phone calls, and sends text messages—but it could also be a good friend or a family member who cheers you on and keeps you accountable!
“’Everything’s fine. You can do this. I got your back.’” Having someone there that’s willing to drop everything and go, ‘Hey listen, it’s alright. I’m here for you. Do you need to talk?’ Having that access is great.”
Having that access and being able to successfully cut back or quit tobacco use has some pretty awesome benefits too:
“We saved a lot of money from me not smoking.”
“My son doesn’t get the bad side effects of second-hand smoke.”
“I can sing really hard in the car now, and I have a lot more energy at the gym.”
“My kids are proud of me, and that I know I’m making my family proud.”
What else can you do to quit smoking?:
Write down what motivates you to quit
Why do you want to quit smoking? How will your life improve after you quit? Write your answers and post them somewhere you will see and be reminded of them often (e.g. bathroom mirror, refrigerator, etc.).
Make it harder to smoke
Throw away all your cigarettes (even your “emergency pack”), but also remember to throw out your lighters and ash trays. If you take steps now to make it harder to light up, you are more likely to make it through that next big craving when it hits.
Change how you respond to your smoking triggers
Every smoker has unique triggers (activities which are associated with smoking a cigarette), and it’s probably not realistic to completely avoid them. However, research has shown that replacing smoking with another habit when faced with triggers leads to greater success. So, instead of lighting up after a meal, try going for a short walk or calling a friend.
Try a practice run
Does the idea of quitting smoking altogether make you feel overwhelmed? Why not ‘practice’ quitting smoking instead? Treat it as an experiment or a challenge and give yourself a deadline. Try to make it through a day, a weekend or even a full week without lighting up. Make note of challenges that you encounter and need to figure out before you quit for good. Who knows? Maybe you’ll make it a week and feel like you want to keep going!
Beyond these ideas, remember that you are more likely to succeed when you have a plan, as well as the support to make this change. Pregnant women in Wisconsin can contact the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation to participate in the First Breath program, and all Wisconsin residents can get help from the WI Tobacco Quitline. Both services are completely free!
Watch this video to learn more about the Wisconsin Women's Health Foundation and its various programs, or visit https://www.wwhf.org/.