Quit Guide: Thinking About Quitting

Why is quitting so hard?

Many ex-smokers say quitting was the hardest thing they ever did. Do you feel hooked? You're probably addicted to nicotine. Nicotine is in all tobacco products. It makes you feel calm and satisfied. At the same time, you feel more alert and focused. The more you smoke, the more nicotine you need to feel good. Soon, you don't feel "normal" without nicotine. It takes time to break free from nicotine addiction. It may take more than one try to quit for good. So don't give up too soon. You will feel good again.

Quitting is also hard because smoking is a big part of your life. You enjoy holding cigarettes and puffing on them. You may smoke when you are stressed, bored, or angry. After months and years of lighting up, smoking becomes part of your daily routine. You may light up without even thinking about it.

Smoking goes with other things, too. You may light up when you feel a certain way or do certain things. For example:

  • Drinking coffee, wine, or beer
  • Talking on the phone
  • Driving
  • Being with other smokers

You may even feel uncomfortable not smoking at times or in places where you usually have a cigarette. These times and places are called "triggers." That's because they trigger, or turn on, cigarette cravings. Breaking these habits is the hardest part of quitting for some smokers.

Quitting isn't easy. Just reading this guide won't do it. It may take several tries. But you learn something each time you try. It takes willpower and strength to beat your addiction to nicotine. Remember that millions of people have quit smoking for good. You can be one of them!

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In the Quit Guide...
Thinking about quitting
Why quit?
What's in a cigarette?
Reasons for quitting
•Why is quitting so hard?
Preparing to quit
The basic steps
Medicines that can help
Other support
Quitting
Steps on quit day
Managing cravings
Withdrawal symptoms
What to do if you slip
Staying quit
Sticking with it
Resources if you slip
DCCPS NCI NIH CDC HHS USA.gov