Smoking leads to serious health problems. Quitting smoking greatly reduces the risk of developing smoking-related diseases. There are many ways to quit smoking, and with a little help, you can too.

Read the tips below to learn unique ways our members have successfully kicked the habit.

You may have benefits to help you quit, such as covering the cost of medicine and counseling to support your efforts. Call the number on the back of your ID card to get more information. And talk to your doctor for more advice on how to quit smoking safely.

Please note that the following tips from members do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Blue Cross and Blue Shield. These tips are intended as general information only. Please consult your physician for specific advice.

When I was trying to quit smoking, I found that one of my hardest feats was not smoking in the car while I was driving and stuck in traffic. I took disposable straws, cut them in half and had a few in my car. I would hold them in my hand, twist them around my fingers, suck and blow into them, and even chew on them when I got really tense.

I also always have water in the car so if I need to do something, I can drink it, which has encouraged a new, better habit instead.

— Sandy N.

I found a picture that showed a healthy lung and a smoker’s lung side by side. The healthy lung was “clean” while the smoker’s lung was black. I laminated it and taped it to my steering wheel. I smoked a lot while driving, so that was the key place to keep the photo.

When things got tough, I would quote The Little Engine that Could: “I think I can, I think I can …” I have been a non-smoker since 2009, and it’s awesome to not have to stop to buy cigarettes anymore!

— Roxanne K.

I’ve found an incentive that is working fantastically to keep me "quit" for nearly seven years. I pay myself $25 in cash every week, which goes into a big cookie jar. I am on my 359th week (nearly seven years) of not smoking! That’s a total of $8,975 I have spent on travel, dance lessons, fancy cowboy boots, a new TV and DVD player, a new computer, and many other presents to myself.

With this incentive, when the thought of a puff (or more) hits, the first thought that comes automatically is, surprisingly, NOT the satisfaction of the smoke, but the loss of the treats I get from those weekly deposits. 

— Jack W.

I was 26 and had been smoking for more than a decade. I was going to get married in a few months, so I asked myself, “In your ideal future, do you see yourself as a 60-year-old who smokes? No. As a 40-year-old who smokes? No. As a father who smokes? No.”

I continued along that line of questioning until I decided that no ideal future version of myself would be a smoker. I tried to quit cold turkey a couple of times over the next few weeks, and that didn’t work.

I bought a pack and decided to ration the cigarettes out for the next five days. I told my friends and family that I was quitting with this last pack, and asked them to support me.

On Sunday night, I had one. Monday I had six, on Tuesday I had five, and so on, until I smoked my last cigarette after work on Friday. I was done.

I’m married with kids now, and I’m extremely grateful to my past self for giving me the gift of being smoke-free. Not only will I have a better chance of living longer for my kids, I’m also able to go hiking and ride my bicycle to work without being winded, my smile is whiter, and I’ve probably saved at least $12,000 over the last nine years by not smoking.

— Matt P.

When I finally decided it was time to quit, I went to my doctor. At that time, nicotine patches were by prescription only. He gladly prescribed patches for me, and I planned my last cigarette.

It was tough, but I was able to do it, thanks to the patches and sugar-free hard candies, to give my mouth something to do, and frenzied cross-stitching, to give my hands something to do. I am glad to say that I am now going on 23 years of being smoke-free. 

— Linda N.

I quit smoking about 14 years ago after smoking for quite a few years. I tried to go cold turkey, but I slipped several times. What finally helped me was nicotine gum, and I have been smoke-free since.

Once I no longer ingested nicotine, I gained weight. It’s a double whammy. It took me a while to get on the right track, but I’ve lost all that weight I gained from quitting smoking. I am so happy now.

— Renne

Just put them down! When the urge to smoke comes, the trick is to remember that the urge will only last a couple of minutes. At first, the urge will come a lot more often. The urge will decrease as one learns to recognize it and learns to change the focus from smoking to doing the task at hand. Having faith in ourselves is the key.

— Weldon I.