Quit Smoking For Your Health
Nicotine Is A
One in four smokers dies early because of smoking. Smokers die of heart
disease, stroke, cancer and emphysema. Whats more, research shows that
secondhand smoke, the smoke from other peoples 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.
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
- 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
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:
- Learn new
skills and behaviors.
- If you get
medication, use it correctly.
- Be prepared for
relapse or difficult situations.
1. Get Ready
- Set a quit
- Change your
- 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!
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
- 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.
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
- 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.
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 doctors 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
- Bupropion SR -
Available by prescription
- Nicotine gum -
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
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
If you are
having problems with any of these situations, talk to your doctor or other
health care provider.
Think about the following questions before you try to stop smoking. You may
want to talk about your answers with your health care provider.
- Why do you
want to quit?
- When you tried
to quit in the past, what helped and what didn't?
- What will be
the most difficult situations for you after you quit? How will you plan to
- Who can help
you through the tough times? Your family? Friends? Health care provider?
- What pleasures
do you get from smoking? What ways can you still get pleasure if you
Here are some
questions to ask your health care provider.
- How can you
help me to be successful at quitting?
- What medication
do you think would be best for me and how should I take it?
- What should I
do if I need more help?
- What is smoking
withdrawal like? How can I get information on withdrawal?
Quitting 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