Learning Not to Smoke

For many people, smoking is a habit that can impede daily activities and routine due to the urge to stop what they are doing and go smoke. Not only does smoking have the addictive component that causes the desire for frequent smoke breaks, but it’s also a very costly habit that has many Americans using their hard-earned money to purchase large quantities of cigarettes.

Keep in mind, the cost of cigarettes is added on top of other costs such as higher costs for health and life insurance. For instance, premiums for medical term life, universal life and critical illness insurance through Purdue are based in part by whether or not you (and your spouse, if covered on a Purdue health plan) have used tobacco in the last 12 months. Those who certify as tobacco users will have an additional annual medical premium of $1,000 per person.*

Aside from cost, with the large consumption of tobacco from Americans, many health-related issues also surface due to the impact smoking has on our body. Taking into account cost and physical health, many people would like to quit their smoking habit, but the task may seem daunting and unobtainable. Today in our blog we will discuss ways to learn how to quit smoking.

When taking your first steps to quit smoking, a great question to ask yourself is: “What is your why?” This question helps you focus on your reasons for quitting. Is it to improve your health? Is it for your kids? Do you want to be around longer for your grandkids? Do you want to be in better shape? Having this reason in focus will help you stay motivated throughout the process.

Another strategy to have when trying to quit is developing an action plan. How are you going to live your life without tobacco? Plan and rehearse how life will be without smoking. Identify triggers that cause you to smoke. It could be during work breaks, after meals or when you drinking coffee. Come up with strategies on how you will occupy yourself differently during these trigger times. For example, you could go on a walk after meals or have something to occupy your hands during your break.

The next step after developing an action plan is to do things differently throughout your day. Changing up your routine can break you away from responding to triggers. You can do this by slightly changing the order of daily habits to not mimic the life you have with cigarettes, such as:

  • Instead of skipping breakfast, sit down and have a balanced breakfast.
  • Drink plenty of water and focus on keeping your water bottle full instead of going back to the coffee pot multiple times throughout the day.
  • Go on a walk instead of sitting down and watching TV in the evenings.
  • Take the dog on a walk when you need a moment of quiet and peace, instead of reaching for a cigarette to decompress from the day.

Learning not to smoke really takes a customized plan. Take time to really think through the following questions:

  1. Why do I still smoke? List your top three reasons for smoking.
  2. Why is quitting important to me? List your top three reasons you want to quit.
  3. When trying to quit in the past, what got in the way?
  4. What are my barriers to quitting now? Are these the same or different as last time?
  5. How can I work around these barriers?
  6. What is the worst thing that could happen if I quit smoking for good?

After thinking through your internal influences, look at your external influences. Surround yourself with a support team – family, friends, doctor, health coach etc. If you surround yourself with positive and encouraging people, you will have better success. Research also suggests that people who use counseling assistance have greater rates of success. Partnering with a health coach is a great way to obtain a free confidential support person to help and encourage you along the way.

Another great tool for success is using nicotine medication or combination of medications to curb cravings and help you focus on being successful. People using some form of nicotine replacement therapy have better rates of success. Have you tried smoking cessation products in the past? Did you use them correctly? Are there new or a combination of products you would like to try? You can meet with a pharmacist via telephone from the Center for Healthy Living (CHL) on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus to review all the products available and learn how to use them correctly. The research has shown that many times people have used products incorrectly, which is why they may not have been helpful with quitting. Keep in mind, tobacco cessation products are covered on all Purdue health plans; you are allowed up to a 168-day supply (24 weeks) of each product in one year of treatment. Information on tobacco cessation products can be found on Purdue’s Tobacco Cessation web page.

Remember that smoking is that took time to develop, and quitting smoking is also a habit that takes time to form. Don’t give up. If you fall off the wagon, just get back on. It might take a few failures to become successful, and that’s okay. When we fail, we learn what we can work on and change for the next time. Persistence and patience are key to developing new habits and behaviors. So, let’s kick butts together. Meet with a Purdue health coach from the CHL (call 765-494-0111) or Purdue Fort Wayne (call 260-481-6651) to help you develop a written plan and support you on your way to quitting for good!  For more tobacco cessation options, review Purdue’s approved tobacco cessation programs information online.  

Be Kind. Be Well. Boiler Up!

Author: Katie Gestosani, health coach, One to One Health

Purdue’s Center for Healthy Living on the West Lafayette campus is managed by One to One Health, a private, physician-led company.


*See the “Purdue Medical Plan Tobacco-User Additional Premium: Questions and Answers” web page for more details. Employees are able to complete an approved tobacco cessation program to waive a partial amount of the additional premium for 2020. If you submit a certificate after March 31, the additional premium will be waived for the remainder of the plan year only. If you become 12 months tobacco free outside of enrollment, you may complete the Tobacco User Certification Form and submit it to the Human Resources to have the additional premium reduced for the remainder of the plan year.



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