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TAR WARS: Dr. John’s Tips to Stop Smoking

June 9, 2013

Put it out before it puts you out!

Once you have stopped smoking, your health improves significantly:

  • After 1 year, your risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half.
  • After 5 years, your risk of stroke falls to the same as a non-smoker.
  • After 10 years, your risk of lung cancer is cut in half and your risk of other cancers decreases significantly.
  • After 15 years, your risk of coronary heart disease drops, usually to the level of a nonsmoker.

How committed are you to quitting?

Not ready to quit yet?

Are you thinking of stopping, maybe within 6 months?

Have you decided to quit in the next month or two?

Are you ready to quit now?

My suggested quit plan can be summarized as ‘STAR’.

Set a quit date. Avoid a time when you will be under stress.

Tell family, friends, and coworkers about your plan to quit. Ask for their support and understanding.

Anticipate the challenges that you will have to face, i.e., withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Remove environmental triggers (e.g., ashtrays, lighters). Limit smoking to uncomfortable places (e.g., outside) and visit only smoke-free establishments.

Use the R’s to maximize your chances of success.

1. Relevance: Identify how relevant quitting smoking is for your health and those around you. Do you suffer from frequent bouts of bronchitis? Do you have a family history of lung cancer or heart disease? Do you have a child with asthma?

2. Risks: Be aware of the risks posed by continued smoking.

3. Rewards: Enjoy better health, improved sense of taste and smell, reduced wrinkling and aging of skin. Quitting smoking is like getting a pay raise; cigarettes burn holes in your pocket.

4. Roadblocks: Identify barriers to quitting, such as withdrawal symptoms, fear of failure, fear of weight gain, lack of support and depression.

5. Repetition:  Most people make repeated attempts to quit before they are finally successful. Relapse is due to the nature of addiction, not due to the failure of the individual. Most people will relapse within the first 8 days. If you have tried to quit before, you have probably learned some valuable tips of what not to do this time. Think about what was most difficult last time and why you gave up trying. Think about the things you need to avoid this time.

Use the 4D’s to deal with cravings.

      • Distract yourself by reading, listening to music, etc.

      • Drink Water. Six to eight glasses every day. Try to avoid alcohol and coffee.

      • Deep Breath. Take a few deep breaths. Take a one-minute vacation.

      • Do Something Different. Anything but smoke! Chew gum, eat carrots, get out of the tempting situation, visit a nonsmoking friend, take a walk.

Hang tough, don’t puff!

Decide what kind of support will be most helpful to you. You may benefit from Anti-smoking drugs like:

 Come and talk to me or phone a friend at 1 877 513 5333 (

Your journey starts here. Your destination is set. Now is the time to tar your road, not your lungs.

Smoking and Tobacco Use Widget

Dr. John is PACT- certified

Additional resources: iCANQUIT: Smoking Cessation App

CAN-ADAPTT Practice-Informed Guidelines 

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