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Letter D

Helping Stay Smoke-Free with
the 4 Ds

Hey, we get it! Urges to smoke can be incredibly tough to overcome.

When you want to smoke, it can be challenging to remember why you decided to go smoke-free in the first place. (Unless you wrote your reasons down, in which case, go you!)

Luckily, tricks like the 4 Ds can help keep you from slipping up. Try one (or all!) of 'em next time you find yourself yearning for a smoke:


You may not think so in the moment, but the urge to smoke does pass if you don't give into it. In fact, urges to smoke usually pass in 3 to 5 minutes, whether you smoke or not!

If you’re accustomed to leaving work at a certain time for a smoke, push that break forward 15 minutes and get back to some emails. Or linger a bit longer by the water cooler. You can even set an alarm for 5, 10, 15 minutes, or more in the future and find a quiet place to practice the next D while the urge runs its course.

Deeply breathe

Pausing to take some full inhalations and exhalations during stressful moments calms us down and enables us to think more clearly.

Next time you find yourself consumed by the need for a smoke: Stop. Inhale deeply. Exhale. Repeat. Simple as that!

Drink water

Need something to do with your hands and mouth? Why not crack open a bottle of water and take a few swigs?

Fueling your body with some good old H2O can help keep you refreshed and alert. Plus, it’s an immediate healthy alternative to inhaling a cigarette.

Do something else

Help get through tough urges by throwing yourself into an activity that’s completely unrelated to cigarettes. If you can get up and take a walk, go for it! If you can’t, try moving to a different part of the room or picking up your phone to call a friend or family member.

Other ideas? Pull out a crossword puzzle, Rubik’s Cube, or other portable game to fiddle with. Or, if you have a smartphone, cue up your favorite game. The goal is to get your mind elsewhere—even if it’s just for a few minutes.