CBT for Quitting Smoking

Quitting smoking can be very difficult without an effective method to reduce and cope with urges to smoke. Research has shown that smoking is one of the most difficult habits to break. Moreover, quitting smoking can come with unwanted consequences such as weight gain, increased anxiety, and fatigue. These make it difficult to remain smoke-free for any length of time.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for smoking cessation is an evidence-based treatment that is clinically proven by numerous scientific studies, and is the treatment of choice for quitting smoking. Unlike 12 step groups for other addictions, CBT treatment does not support the idea that addiction is a lifelong disease. Instead, addictions are viewed as over-learned behaviors that serve important functions. The goal of Cognitive behavioral treatment is learning new more effective behaviors to take the place of the addiction behaviors. 

Cognitive behavioral therapy for quitting smoking focuses on changing people’s reactions to their urges to smoke. This occurs through changing thoughts and behaviors. Changing thoughts occurs by examining unhelpful thought patterns that lead to smoking, and then learning more effective patterns. Learning alternate behaviors involves identifying the functions that smoking serves, and replacing the smoking with other behaviors that serve the same function. Additionally, behavioral training in mindfulness and emotion regulations skills can be helpful in coping with particularly strong urges.

CBT for quitting smoking may include:

  • Cognitive restructuring
  • Mindfulness training
  • Stimulus control
  •  Self-monitoring
  • Functional analysis
  • Impulse tolerance training
  • Emotion regulation training

Click for more information about What CBT is and How it Works