Smoking Cessation

Cigarette smoking is one of the most addictive habits. It’s also one of the deadliest. Half of all smokers die prematurely, an average of eight years earlier than nonsmokers. There is good news, half of all people who have ever smoked have successfully kicked the habit. You can, too!

US and Europe Smoking Related Deaths

Asia and India Smoking Related Deaths

The Basics of Quitting

  • There are many ways to quit smoking and there are resources to help you. Family members, friends, and co-workers may be supportive. But to be successful, you must want to quit.
  • Most people who have quit smoking were unsuccessful at least once in the past. Try not to view past attempts to quit as failures. See them as learning experiences.
  • It is hard to stop smoking or stop using smokeless tobacco, but anyone can do it!

Steps to Quitting

Develop a Plan

Consider options such as self-help groups, counseling, relaxation exercises and programs, avoidance techniques, hypnotism, and nicotine gum or patches. For specific information on these options, speak with your personal doctor. You may also want to talk to others who have successfully quit about what strategies worked for them.

Have a Support System

Ask your family, friends and co-workers for their support and patience. Explain that you may be irritable for a while. Support programs are another valuable resource.

Quit Cold Turkey

Most former smokers kicked the habit by quitting cold turkey. Cutting back gradually may reinforce the habit. Switching to lower tar brands usually leads to smoking more cigarettes or inhaling more deeply.

Be Positive

When you’re tempted to light up, stop and think about the benefits of not smoking. For example: You’re dramatically reducing the risk of developing lung cancer and/or heart disease.

Common Symptoms after You Quit

  • An intense craving for nicotine
  • Anxiety, tension, restlessness, frustration, or impatience
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Drowsiness or trouble sleeping, as well as bad dreams and nightmares
  • Drowsiness and trouble sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Increased appetite and weight gain
  • Irritability or depression

Your symtpoms may vary depending on your smoking habit.

Ready to Quit?

  • Set a quit date. Quit completely on that day. Before your quit date, you may begin reducing your cigarette use.
  • List the reasons why you want to quit. Include both short and long-term benefits.
  • Identify the times you are most likely to smoke. For example, do you tend to smoke when feeling stressed or down? While drinking coffee? When bored? While driving? Right after a meal? When you are with other smokers?
  • Let your friends, family, and co-workers know of your plan to stop smoking. Tell them your quit date. It can be helpful if they know what you are going through, especially when you are grumpy.
  • Get rid of all your cigarettes just before the quit date. Clean out anything that smells like smoke, such as clothes and furniture.

Helpful Tips

  • Remove ashtrays and cigarettes from the car. Put pretzels or nuts there instead. Pretend-smoke with a straw.
  • Find activities that focus your hands and mind. But make sure they are not taxing or fattening.
  • If you normally smoke after eating, find other ways to end a meal. Eat a piece of fruit. Get up and make a phone call. Take a walk (a good distraction that also burns calories).
  • Set short-term quitting goals and reward yourself when you meet them.
  • Every day, put the money you normally spend on cigarettes in a jar. Later, buy something you like.
  • Take it one day at a time.
  • Even one puff or one cigarette will make your desire for more cigarettes even stronger. However, it is normal to make mistakes. So even if you have one cigarette, you don't need to take the next one.
  • Enroll in a smoking cessation program.Hospitals, health departments, community centers, and work sites often offer programs.
  • Ask your health care provider about prescription medications that are safe and appropriate for you.
  • Find out about nicotine patches, gum, and sprays. See also: Nicotine replacement therapy
  • Above all, don't get discouraged if you aren't able to quit smoking the first time. Nicotine addiction is a hard habit to break. Try something different next time. Develop new strategies and try again. Many people take several attempts to finally kick the habit.