Benefits Bulletin

Quick Guide to Quit Smoking in the New Year

December 26, 2017

Grace Huang, Benefits Analyst

One of the most common New Year’s Resolutions is to quit smoking.  Since nicotine is extremely addictive, we know that it’s extremely hard to stop smoking.  Most people end up trying a few times before they succeed, so don’t get discouraged.  Smoking leads to cancer, heart attacks, stroke, and lung disease (which can lead to death).  Considering all of these negative effects on your health, there are plenty of reasons to stop smoking.
GOOD NEWS!  Our Plan’s Prescription Drug coverage covers prescription drugs used to stop/reduce smoking or the use of other tobacco products or to treat/reduce nicotine addiction, dependence, or cravings.  Covered Medical Expenses include charges for any necessary treatment, service, or supply, including counseling, hypnosis and other therapies. (See “Tobacco Use” on page 80 of US Health Plan SPD)

Whether it’s your first attempt or your fifth, follow the tips below to help you succeed once and for all:

  1. Before you quit: Prepare yourself

    • Think of all the reasons you want to quit and write them down

    • Identify your habits and triggers

    • Think of some alternatives to smoking

    • Set a quit date and try to stick to it

    • Prepare yourself for withdrawal symptoms

    • Chat with those who have been successful at quitting.  Share your challenges and seek advice

  2. When you quit: Methods and Steps

    • There are many ways to quit smoking, so find the best method that works for you.

    • You can stop gradually or quit cold turkey.

    • You can try self-help methods, programs, clinics and groups, and even hypnosis.

    • You may also consult with your doctor and try nicotine gum, patches, nasal spray or inhalers.

    • Don’t forget that many of these methods are covered under our U.S. Health Plan.

  3. After you quit: Maintenance

    • Track your physical progress

    • Reward yourself using the money that you have saved

    • Keep your hands busy and keep gum or other substitutes nearby

    • Exercise often and learn relaxation techniques

    • Socialize with nonsmokers, go to smoke-free places, and make your house a smoke-free zone as well

Regardless of what treatment option you decide on, the steps below will help you meet your goal:

  • Discard all cigarettes, matches, lighters, and ashtrays

  • Change up your routine so that you don’t smoke when you normally would

  • Talk to friends and family; tell them that you’re quitting so they can help keep you accountable and offer support

  • Avoid smoking areas and other smokers

  • Be mindful of caffeine, alcohol, and any other beverage that you tend to associate with smoking

  • Take it one day at a time

Keep a journal to log all your temptations and how you dealt with them.  It’s alright if you slip up, but don’t let that deter you.  Just cut yourself some slack and get back on track.  Frequently remind yourself why you are quitting, think of all the positive benefits of not smoking, and stay focused on your commitment.  Best of luck to those of you who resolve to quit smoking in the New Year!

To learn more about Smoking/Tobacco Cessation, please visit Health Advocate’s website (Employee Assistance Program).

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