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866-QUIT YESQuit Smoking For Your Health

Nicotine Is A Powerful Addiction
One in four smokers dies early because of smoking. Smokers die of heart disease, stroke, cancer and emphysema. What’s more, research shows that secondhand smoke, the smoke from other people’s cigarettes, can cause harm to the health of nonsmokers. Cigarettes are very addictive and cause sickness and poor health.

If you have tried to quit smoking, you know how hard it can be. Quitting is hard because nicotine is a very addictive drug. For some people, nicotine can be as addictive as heroin or cocaine. Some people try two or three times or more, before finally being able to quit. Each time you try to quit, you can learn about what helps and what hurts. Quitting takes hard work and a lot of effort, but you can quit smoking.

Good Reasons for Quitting
Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you will ever do:

  • You will live longer and live better.
  • Quitting will lower your chance of having a heart attack, stroke, or cancer.
  • If you are pregnant, quitting smoking will improve your chances of having a healthy baby.
  • The people with whom you live, especially your children, will be healthier.
  • You will have extra money to spend on things other than cigarettes.

People who quit smoking are proud of themselves for breaking the addiction. By quitting, smokers get many health benefits. They cut down on their risk of having lung disease, a heart attack or getting cancer. Former smokers have an improved sense of smell and get rid of cigarette stains on their hands, hacking coughs and the smell of stale cigarette smoke on their clothing and in their homes.

Five Steps to Successful Quitting
Studies have shown that these five steps will help you quit and quit for good. You have the best chances of quitting if you use them together:

  1. Get ready.
  2. Get support.
  3. Learn new skills and behaviors.
  4. If you get medication, use it correctly.
  5. Be prepared for relapse or difficult situations.

1. Get Ready

  • Set a quit date.
  • Change your environment.
  • Get rid of ALL cigarettes and ashtrays in your home, car and place of work.
  • Don't let people smoke in your home or around you.
  • Review your past attempts to quit. Think about what worked and what did not.
  • Once you quit, don't smoke -- NOT EVEN A PUFF!

2. Get Support and Encouragement

Studies have shown that you have a better chance of being successful if you have help. You can get support in many ways:

  • Tell your family, friends and coworkers that you are going to quit and ask for their support. If they smoke, ask them not to smoke around you or to leave their cigarettes out.
  • Talk to your health care provider (for example, doctor, dentist, nurse, pharmacist, psychologist or smoking counselor).
  • Get individual, group or telephone counseling. Counseling may help improve your chances of quitting. In Illinois, call 866-QUIT YES (866-784-8937). The Illinois Tobacco Quitline has certified cessation counselors who can provide you with information about quitting, help you design a quit program or provide information about programs available at local health departments, hospitals or health centers in your area.

3. Learn New Skills and Behaviors

  • Try to distract yourself from urges to smoke. Talk to someone, go for a walk or get busy with a task.
  • When you first try to quit, change your routine. Use a different route to work. Drink tea instead of coffee. Eat breakfast in a different place.
  • Do something to reduce your stress. Take a hot bath, exercise or read a book.
  • Plan something enjoyable to do every day.
  • Drink a lot of water and other fluids.

4. If You Get Medication, Use It Correctly

Quitting smoking is a two-step process that includes overcoming the physical addiction to nicotine and breaking the smoking habit. Nicotine replacement therapies are medications that can help you stop smoking and lessen the urge to smoke. Research has shown that smokers who use some form of nicotine replacement therapy can increase their chances of quitting for good.

Smokers can now obtain these nicotine replacement products with a doctor’s prescription or some are available over-the-counter. These products are designed to reduce cravings for cigarettes and relieve the withdrawal symptoms people experience while trying to quit.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved five medications to help persons quit smoking:

  • Bupropion SR - Available by prescription
  • Nicotine gum - Available over-the-counter
  • Nicotine inhaler - Available by prescription
  • Nicotine nasal spray - Available by prescription
  • Nicotine patch - Available by prescription and over-the-counter

Ask your health care provider for advice and carefully read and follow the information on the package. If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, nursing, under age 18, smoking fewer than 10 cigarettes per day or have a medical condition, talk to your doctor or other health care provider before taking medications.

5. Be Prepared for Relapse or Difficult Situations

Most relapses occur within the first three months after quitting. Don't be discouraged if you start smoking again. Remember, most people try several times before they finally quit. Here are some difficult situations to avoid:

  • Alcohol. Avoid drinking alcohol. Drinking lowers your chances of success.
  • Other smokers. Being around smoking can make you want to smoke.
  • Weight gain. Many smokers will gain weight when they quit, usually less than 10 pounds. Eat a healthy diet and stay active. Don't let weight gain distract you from your main goal — quitting smoking.
  • Bad mood or depression. There are a lot of ways to improve your mood other than smoking.

If you are having problems with any of these situations, talk to your doctor or other health care provider.

Questions to Think About
Think about the following questions before you try to stop smoking. You may want to talk about your answers with your health care provider.

  1. Why do you want to quit?
  2. When you tried to quit in the past, what helped and what didn't?
  3. What will be the most difficult situations for you after you quit? How will you plan to handle them?
  4. Who can help you through the tough times? Your family? Friends? Health care provider?
  5. What pleasures do you get from smoking? What ways can you still get pleasure if you quit?

Here are some questions to ask your health care provider.

  1. How can you help me to be successful at quitting?
  2. What medication do you think would be best for me and how should I take it?
  3. What should I do if I need more help?
  4. What is smoking withdrawal like? How can I get information on withdrawal?

866-QUIT YESQuitting is hard work and a lot of effort, but you can quit smoking.



This information was excerpted from Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence, a U.S. Public Health Service-sponsored Clinical Practice Guideline. For information about the guideline or to get more copies of the booklet, call toll free: 800-358-9295, or write: Publications Clearinghouse, P.O. Box 8547, Silver Spring, MD 20907