JANA KLAUER, MD: The things that can trigger a craving for smoking are situations. Often, you're used to having it with your morning coffee or maybe you have a cigarette at a cocktail party. I would say switch around your routine a little bit. Have that coffee on the way to work.
Or at a cocktail party, have a large glass of San Pellegrino. I would avoid alcohol, because often alcohol can reduce your resolve.
ANNOUNCER: Getting by with a little help from your friends is another route to giving up cigarettes.
JANA KLAUER, MD: There are certain benefits of stopping smoking with a friend. You can positively reinforce one another. I've seen a lot of benefits to that.
The only caveat I would give to someone who's thinking of doing that is, if your friend fails, are you going to use your friend's inability to stop right then as a reason not to go on?
I wouldn't suggest relying solely on that friend. I would suggest a group. There are a lot of wonderful groups, Smoke Enders, or seeing a health professional who deals in that.
ANNOUNCER: There are aids that can help you cut out cigarettes, some that can be bought over-the-counter, and some need a doctor's prescription.
JANA KLAUER, MD: The techniques that I recommend when you're stopping smoking are nicotine replacement, either in the form of gum or a patch and the gum is more effective than the patch. Prescription medication from a doctor.
ANNOUNCER: But these aids aren't the entire solution.
JANA KLAUER, MD: They all should be combined with behavioral therapy so that you're either in a group of people who are stopping smoking or you're talking actively to a health professional about that.
ANNOUNCER: While it may sound harsh, probably the best way to quit is to do it cold turkey. And once you quit, don't smoke, not even a puff.
JANA KLAUER, MD: There's no benefit to tapering down. Studies have shown that people who taper down go right back up. So I do not recommend tapering; I recommend just stopping.
ANNOUNCER: It's never easy to give up a habit, no matter how bad we know it is. But it can be done. 44 million Americans have already quit smoking. And even if you've tried before. Try again.
JANA KLAUER, MD: You've made a decision; now you have to take action. So whatever that action may be, whether it's joining a group or it's seeing a doctor or whatever it is that you need to do, just do it.