You Can Quit Smoking
Five Keys for Quitting Smoking
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
- Get Ready.
- Get Support.
- Learn new skills and behaviors.
- Get medication and use it correctly.
- Be prepared for relapse or difficult situations.
- 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 around you.
- Review your past attempts to quit. Think about what worked and
what did not.
- Develop a plan to deal with cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and times when
you usually smoke a cigarette.
- Once you quit, don't smoke—NOT EVEN A PUFF!
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 co-workers that you are going to
quit and want their support. Ask them not to smoke around you or
leave cigarettes out where you can see them.
- Talk to your health care provider (e.g., doctor, dentist, nurse,
pharmacist, psychologist, or smoking cessation coach or counselor).
- Get individual, group, or telephone counseling. Counseling
doubles your chances of success.
- The more help you have, the better your chances are of quitting.
Free programs are available at local hospitals and health centers.
Call your local health department for information about programs in
- Telephone counseling is available at 1–800–QUIT–NOW.
- 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
- 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.
Medications can help you stop smoking and lessen the urge to smoke.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved seven
medications to help you 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
- Nicotine lozenge—Available over–the–counter.
- Varenicline tartrate—Available by prescription.
- Ask your health care provider for advice and carefully read the
information on the package.
- All of these medications will at least double your chances of
quitting and quitting for good.
- Nearly everyone who is trying to quit can benefit from using a
medication. However, 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.
- For information on FDA-approved medications, call
1-800-QUIT-NOW. To find out more about prescriptions, contact your
health care provider.
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. The following are some
difficult situations you may encounter:
- Alcohol. Avoid drinking alcohol. Drinking lowers your
chances of success.
- Other Smokers. Being around smoking can make you want to
- Weight Gain. Many smokers will gain some 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. Some quit-smoking medications may help delay
- Bad Mood or Depression. There are a lot of ways to
improve your mood other than smoking. Some quit-smoking medications
also lessen depression.
If you are having problems with any of these situations, talk to your
doctor or other health care provider.
For more information on quitting, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit
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