You can beat one of the most powerful addictions out there. Try my smoking cessation plan, shared in This Is Your Do-Over. It starts with finding a “buddy”–a spouse, friend, virtual friend, family member, even a coach that you pay–who will check in with you daily and help you stay the course.
Here’s my Breathe-Free program, which has worked for more than 60 percent of the people who have followed it. But you have to realize that it’s not an overnight fix. It can take up to six months to feel fully recovered, with the addiction banished successfully from your brain.
Smoking Cessation Plan
1. Get a buddy.
2. Start walking thirty minutes extra every day, no excuses. Every day. Start this on Day 1, one month before quitting.
3. Call or email your buddy every day to confirm that you walked. If you miss two days, restart the day count at Day 1.
4. Ask your doctor for prescriptions for 100-milligram bupropion tablets and also nicotine patches dosed according to the amount you smoke. For a half pack-a-day habit, it’s 7 milligrams to 10 milligrams; for a half pack to one pack, 14 milligrams; for one to two packs, 21 milligrams to 22 milligrams. For more than two packs a day, ask your doctor.
5. On Days 28 and 29, take one bupropion.
6. Day 30: it’s your stop-smoking day. Apply your nicotine transdermal patch system: one patch on your arm, chest, or thigh. Replace daily.
7. On Day 30 and all subsequent days, take bupropion each morning and each evening. Most folks wean off bupropion between days 90 and 180.
8. Continue walking thirty minutes extra or more each day and call your buddy. Feel free to drink as much coffee, tea, and/or water as you wish.
9. Phone or email your buddy daily to discuss your overall progress.
10. Begin weight lifting on Day 60 or earlier. Do not increase your physical activities by more than 10 percent per week.
11. Decrease patch size by one-third every two months.
12. After six months, decrease to one bupropion tablet in the evening; when you hit seven months, discontinue the drug completely.
13. Carry one bupropion tablet with you at all times, in case you feel a craving.