Want to Quit?
Contact the American Cancer Society Quitline for free and confidential counseling services, support and information:
You can also visit www.yesquit.com or click "Want to Quit?" on the left side of your screen for more information
No, I'm not ready to quit
Short-term: shortness of breath, impotence, exacerbation of asthma, infertility, harm to pregnancy, more
susceptible to colds and bronchitis.
Long-term: heart attack and stroke; cancers of the lung, larynx, esophagus, pancreas, bladder, cervix; emphysema; need for extended care.
For others: lung cancer and heart disease in spouses; asthma, middle ear disease, SIDS, respiratory infections and low birth weight in children; children who smoke.
Rewards of Quitting
Feel, look and perform better
Improve your sense of smell and taste
Have fresher-smelling clothing, home, car and breath
Stop worrying about health risks
Have more time at work and play
Set a good example for children
Have healthier babies and children
Even if you are not ready to give up cigarettes, you might like to think about why you do smoke and what lies ahead.
Why Should I Quit?
“It’s too hard to quit. I don’t have the willpower.”
Quitting and staying away from cigarettes is hard, but it’s not impossible.
One-half of all people who have ever smoked have now quit.
In fact, almost a quarter of adults in the U.S. are former smokers—that makes 46 million people who have quit successfully.
“I’ve tried to quit too many times. Why should it be different now?”
Most people make repeated attempts to quit before they are successful.
In fact, the people who make repeated attempts to quit are the ones who eventually stop and quit permanently.
“Smoking allows me to be more effective in my work.”
Trouble concentrating can be a short-term symptom of quitting, but smoking actually prevents your brain from getting all of the oxygen it needs.
“I’ve been smoking for years. The damage has been done. It’s too late.”
It’s never too late to quit smoking. Read more about your body's ability to heal below.
It’s time to take the facts to heart, and when you decide to break away from the pack, tell a friend, a family member and your primary care doctor.
Together, they can help you take the next step.
Why Do I Smoke?
Thinking about how you use cigarettes or tobacco helps you to note patterns and understand the role addiction plays in your daily life.
Check off those reasons that sound familiar:
- Smoking helps me think more clearly and gives me energy.
- Smoking makes me feel better if I’m worried or stressed.
- Holding a cigarette gives me something to do with my hands.
- Going for a smoke lets me take a break during the day.
- Smoking helps me control my weight.
- I look and feel “cool” when I smoke.
- A cigarette helps me feel comfortable at parties and in other social situations.
- I smoke when I’m bored, depressed or frustrated.
- My friends smoke and I like to be with them.
- What are other reasons I smoke?
- Now, go back and study your reasons for smoking. Are there ways you could get the same benefit without lighting up?
Am I Addicted?
If you smoke in the first 10 minutes after you wake up every day or have felt withdrawal symptoms or cravings when you went too long without a smoke, you are addicted to nicotine.
Within 5 seconds of inhaling, nicotine travels directly to your brain. It tells your brain to release chemicals that make you want to smoke more.
In fact, nicotine can be as addictive as heroin or cocaine.
The edgy, hungry, more tired and short-tempered feelings you have when you stop smoking, even temporarily, are the first symptoms of recovery.
These unpleasant effects are the result of your body clearing itself of nicotine. They do not last. In fact, a single withdrawal symptom never lasts longer than 20 minutes, and--when you quit--most nicotine is gone from your body in two to three days.
You might be surprised to learn how quickly your body begins to heal after you quit smoking.
The first day
- Within 20 minutes, your blood pressure and heart rate drop to normal
- Within 8 hours, poisonous carbon monoxide levels in your body go down, and oxygen levels in your blood stream go up
- In 24 hours, the chance of having a heart attack decreases
The first week
- Your nerve endings start to regrow
- Your sense of taste and smell improves
- Your bronchial tubes relax, making it easier to breathe
- Your lung capacity increases, allowing you to breathe more deeply
The first year
- You cough less or not at all, and you have more energy and fewer sinus problems
5 years later
- Your risk of lung cancer is cut in half, and your risk of stroke returns to nearly the levels of a person who has never smoked
10 years later
- Your risk of dying of lung cancer is now almost the same as someone who never smoked