How to Quit Smoking & Tobacco — Tips & Tricks from a Cancer Surgeon

Trust the statistics that smokers on an average die a decade earlier than non-smokers. Don’t try to fool yourself with popular myths and anecdotes that encourage smokers. Don’t live in the world of denial. Don’t believe that smoking is safe… it is as safe as playing Russian Roulette!

Get this clear: Reduction e.g. from 10 cigarettes to 2 per day has got no beneficial impact. What will benefit you is stopping completely.

Drive it out of your mind that smoking improves creativity and performance. Most successful men are not smokers.

Believe that “Tobacco addiction” is a disease and not merely a bad habit. Therefore, it has to be handled like a disease such as malaria, flu, diarrhea etc.

Youngsters should remember that most women do not like smokers especially when it comes to marriage. It is no longer “cool” or macho.

Smoking does not reduce weight or suppresses appetite – a common myth amongst women. On the contrary, it make a women look older prematurely

Middle aged and elderly people should remember that smoking will make your old age pathetic. You will be riddled with dozens of smoking related ailments!

The children of current era are very conscious and well informed – they do not like smoking by parents.


1.       Decide a date for quitting – child’s birthday, anniversary, new year etc.
2.       Announce your decision to quit to everybody around you. It is better that you plan quitting with a colleague. A sense of competition may do the trick.
3.       If you have kids, tell them that you have decide to quit. That is the greatest encouragement. Always keep their pictures and look at it whenever there is an urge.
4.       Throw all packets, match box, lighter, ash tray that may remind you of the habit.
5.       On the day of quitting, take is as a serious challenge that you would like to win.
6.       Try to remain surrounded by good friends for next few days.
7.       It is not a bad idea to stay at a friend’s or relative’s house for first one week. Living in your own house may be a constant reminder of your past habit.
8.       Keep reminding yourself, whenever you get a craving, that quitting is good for your child, parents, wife, girl friend etc. Convince yourself that you are making a huge sacrifice for your dear ones.
9.       Think of the beautiful world and how nice it would be to stay longer in this world
10.   Drink plenty of water , coffee, tea etc
11.   Exercise, jog, swim and stay occupied.
12.   Keep yourself extremely busy for first one week. Make yourself so tired by evening that you just collapse on the bed each night.
13.   Keep reading good literature on hazards of smoking and convince yourself that you have taken a good decision.
14.   First 3-4 days are very difficult and if you are able to control your urge during that time, success is guaranteed.
15.   After 4 days, your anxiety will reduce, your stamina will come back and your concentration will be near normal.
16.   Avoid visiting bars & restaurants for a fortnight.
17.   Majority of the times, you may not require a doctor or a counselor for quitting.

— Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Associate Professor, Surgical Oncology, Head & Neck, Tata Memorial Hospital