Almost 70 percent of 46 million American smokers want to quit, according to the U.S. government, but few do. Quitting smoking is also one of the top New Year’s resolutions each January. Here’s a little help to kick that butt.
Willpower isn’t the magical solution for this. These apps and guides, available freely on the internet, can work wonders to help anyone who wants to quit. Some of them even offer excellent tutorials for those who want to convince friends or loved ones to quit.
Remember, addictions are tricky, so don’t be afraid to use aids like nicotine patches, chewing gums, lozenges, and even medication. And consult a doctor if you want to be doubly sure about what you are putting on or in your body.
Quit Genius (Android, iOS): A Medical Approach to Quit Smoking
Quit Genius puts the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) into an app to help smokers imbibe the negative associations with this habit. It’s a bit of psychology, a bit of mind hacking, and a bit of fun.
The idea is to turn the Quit Genius app into a friend, therapist, or mentor in your pocket. Every time you feel the urge to smoke, fire up the app. Depending on what triggered the urge, Quit Genius will give you different advice: perhaps a game, an exercise, or even a mindfulness meditation. The end result is a more positive mindframe and less anxiety, which usually reduces that feeling of wanting a cigarette.
With daily check-ins, the app tracks your progress and gives regular motivation. Quit Genius also offers a look at the science behind their app, including three of the research papers they have published so far.
QuitPlan (Web, Mobile, eBooks): Everything You Need to Quit
QuitPlan is an initiative by ClearWay Minnesota, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to reducing the harmful effects of tobacco use. While it’s ideal for any Minnesota native, its basic advice is universally applicable.
My favorite part is the series of free guided ebooks:
- Quit Guide, for those who want to quit smoking tobacco.
- Quitting Smokeless Tobacco, for those who want to quit non-smoking ways of consuming tobacco.
- Ally Guide, for people who want to help someone else quit smoking.
Apart from that, Quit Plan has regular articles and tips on how to kick the butt, and a wonderful mobile app. The app features those daily tips along with a quit-date tracker and a real-time savings calculator, so you can see how much you saved so far.
For Minnesota natives, QuitPlan offers several cool free services, such as counseling over the phone, a text message bot, and a starter kit of nicotine patches and gums.
Visit: Free Quit Plan eBooks
Fine I’ll Quit (Android, iOS): A Brutal Nagging Reminder of Tough Love
Fine I’ll Quit (FIQ) is not specifically about smoking, it applies to other bad habits too. But man, it’s great for smokers who need someone to nag you about not smoking, track your failures, and not mince words. Fair warning, FIQ is not shy to use offensive language.
It’s that old idea of tough love. FIQ has a daily check-in about whether you did or didn’t smoke today. Be honest, there’s nothing to fear. And the minute you don’t adhere to your plan, FIQ will bombard you with how you are failing your responsibilities, about the effect it has on your family and kids, about how this affects your health, about the drain on your finances, and so on. It can be snarky like CARROT, and it can be downright brutal.
But it works because it’s brutal. FIQ has a number of fans already who swear by the app as much as the app swears at them.
One of the proven methods to change your life is to take on a 30-day self-improvement challenge. MyChallengeTribe aims to put together a community of such users with a common goal, as well as steps to achieve that.
The 28-Day Challenge, set by a user, is divided into four weeks of actionable steps that eases you into the process of quitting. You’ll start by delaying your first smoke, move on to one cigarette per hour, then one per two hours, and work your way up. To quote the cliched adage of every inspirational movie, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. And having a community of other users taking on the same challenge obviously helps keep you motivated.
For similar challenges, you can also check out the r/StopSmoking subreddit. Again, it’s a community of smokers who have quit or are in the process of quitting, so there’s some valuable insight.
The Canadian Cancer Society has a long list of freely available ebooks and brochures that cover different aspects of smoking, tobacco, and quitting. Here’s what you should check out, based on your needs:
- Facts about Tobacco for lesbian, gay and bisexual people: Reasons and resources for quitting smoking
- Live Free of Second-hand Smoke: Tips for home, car, work and outdoors
- One Step at a Time: For Smokers Who Don’t Want to Quit
- One Step at a Time: For Smokers Who Want to Quit
- One Step at a Time: Help a Smoker Quit
- Given the source of these books and how well-researched they are, you can trust in them a lot more than some random medical advice on the internet.
How to Keep Going, No Matter What
One of the hardest tasks is to form a new habit, especially when you are quitting a bad habit at the same time. You can have a few false starts, maybe even some falls. But it’s important to keep going even when it seems hard.
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