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Quit Smoking

Woman's hands snapping a cigarette

The Basics

Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you will ever do. You will live a longer, healthier life. It will be time well spent with the people you love – your family and friends.

Smoking is the most preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Smoking causes:

  • Lung cancer
  • 11 other types of cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Pregnancy problems
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Lung disorders
  • Gum disease
  • Vision problems

Learn about your risk from smoking

How can I Stop Smoking?

  • Change your routine
  • Learn new ways to deal with stress
  • Eat healthy snacks instead of smoking
  • Get medicine from your doctor or pharmacy

Knowing how addicted you are to nicotine can help you quit. Nicotine is a drug that causes cravings for cigarettes. Nicotine is just as addictive as heroin or cocaine.

Take this nicotine addiction test to find out how hooked you are.

The Benefits

The benefits of quitting will begin as soon as you stop. Here are all of the ways you will feel better right away:

  • You can breathe easier.
  • Your taste and smell get better.
  • You have more energy.
  • Your lungs become stronger, making it easier to walk.
  • Your stuffy nose and cough go away.

Here are some of the benefits of quitting smoking that will help you live a longer, healthier life:

  • Your chance of having a heart attack goes down.
  • Your lungs can fight off infection.
  • Your chance of dying from cancer goes down.
  • Your blood pressure goes down.
  • Your pulse, oxygen level, and body temperature return to normal.
  • Your kids will have fewer ear and lung infections.

Plus, quitting smoking will save you a lot of cash. Use this calculator to see how much money you could be spending on something else.

Worrying About Weight Gain
Many people worry about gaining weight when they quit smoking. But a lot of people do not gain any weight.

The average weight gain is usually small – less than 6–8 pounds. You can help avoid this by getting 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week and eating healthy snacks.

Some people gain less weight when they use medicine to help them stop smoking. Learn how you can control your weight as you quit smoking.

Take Action!

Step 1: Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free support and to set up your quit plan.

Step 2: Talk to your doctor about medicines that can help you quit.

Step 3: Circle a quit date on your calendar.

Step 4: Make small changes like throwing away ashtrays in your home, car, and office so that you aren’t tempted to smoke. Make your home and car smoke-free.

Here are some more tips to help you quit.

Change Your Routine
Changing your routine will help you break the smoking habit. Try taking a different route to work. Eat different foods or go for a walk. This is a perfect time to get active and eat healthy.

Be Prepared for Hard Times
Remember, the urge to smoke will come and go. Here are some ways to overcome it:

  • Do something else with your hands like washing them, taking a shower, or washing the dishes. Try doing crossword or sudoku puzzles.
  • Have healthy snacks ready, like carrots, sunflower seeds, apples, or sugar-free gum.
  • Distract yourself with a new activity.
  • Take several deep breaths to help you relax.

Eating and Smoking
Many people like to smoke when they finish a meal. You can beat the urge if you get up from the table as soon as you are done eating. Brush your teeth and think about the fresh clean feeling in your mouth. Try going for a walk after meals.

Deal With Stress
Deal with stress by creating peaceful times in your daily schedule. Try new relaxation methods like deep breathing or lighting candles.

Stick With it
It takes time to overcome addiction. When you stop smoking, you may feel:

  • Irritable
  • Anxious
  • Hungry

You may even have trouble sleeping.

Most smoking relapses occur within the first 3 months. Drinking alcohol, depression, and being around other smokers can make it harder to quit. If you are finding it difficult, talk to your doctor about what medication or combination of medications might work best for you.

Don’t give up! You are going to be a healthier person by quitting. Check out these tips on staying quit.

Learn how smoking relates to heart disease. If you are a smoker, it’s a good idea to get your blood pressure checked.

What do you want to do today?

  • Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free support and coaching.
  • Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss medications that may help.
  • Take this nicotine addiction test to find out how hooked you are.
  • Pick a quit date. Circle it on your calendar.
  • Send an e-card to encourage a friend or family member to quit smoking with you.
  • Make a shopping list with healthy snacks and sugar-free gum.
  • Don’t smoke in your home or car – ask your guests to smoke outside.
  • National Health Information Center

    P.O. Box 1133, Washington, DC 20013-1133