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.
Want to Quit?
Recognize withdrawal and plan ways to cope:
Irritability or anxiety
Cut down on caffeine. Take deep breaths. Go for a stroll.
Take a warm bath. Drink herbal tea or warm milk. Read.
Simplify your schedule for a few days. Make a “to do” list. Take a break.
Drink more water, especially out of a sip bottle. Eat slowly. Snack on carrots, pickles, grapes or rice cakes.
Eat more fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day.
Sip ice water. Suck on sugarless hard candy or lozenges.
Take a nap. Go to bed early. Try not to push yourself for two to four weeks.
Good for you!
The single most important thing you can do to protect your health is to stop smoking.
All it takes is a plan of action and a little help from people who care.
No two smokers are alike, and your plan to free yourself of cigarettes will reflect you—and only you.
Take a look at “My Quit Plan.” (54 kb, PDF)
By putting your commitment on paper, you take the driver’s seat.
You pick the strategies and tips that make sense to you and add new ones to fit your life.
For most quitters, early withdrawal symptoms present the biggest hurdle.
Nicotine is a powerful and extremely addictive drug, and if you do not make plans for handling withdrawal, you could easily slip into a relapse.
1. Consider medications to ease the symptoms of withdrawal.
Most quitters can benefit from using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or other medications.
Studies show that your chances for success are doubled with the use of approved NRT or prescribed medications.
Talk to your doctor about these medications.
Together you can find the one that works for you:
- Nicotine patch (available by prescription and over the counter)
- Nicotine gum (available over the counter)
- Nicotine inhaler (available by prescription)
- Nicotine lozenge (available over the counter)
- Nicotine nasal spray (available by prescription)
- Buproprion SR (available by prescription)
Remember, withdrawal symptoms and cravings fade in about 20 minutes whether you smoke or not, and the first two weeks are often the most difficult.
It’s helpful to think of after-effects as “signals” of the start of a healthier life.
2. Seek out support and raise your odds of quitting for good.
Experts point out that successful quitters gain the support of family and friends and take advantage of counseling programs.
Certainly, don’t keep your intention to quit a secret.
Tell your friends and family about your quit plans, invite friends who smoke to join you or wager a friendly bet with a co-worker that you can stay smoke-free for a day, a week, a month and so on.
Find a friend who has been through it. Most former smokers are willing to help others.
Telephone “quitlines” offer unbeatable convenience and flexibility.
You don’t have to leave home, find transportation or arrange childcare.
Trained counselors call on your schedule to help you form a quit plan that feels right for you.
They share tips that help you overcome your barriers and offset cravings and otherwise provide critical support when you need it.
3. Keep in mind that most people try to quit again and again before they are successful.
In fact, you have an advantage if you tried to quit before.
You can use what you learned and apply it to your “new and improved” attempt.
Studies show that most relapses occur within the first three months after stopping, so prepare yourself for the difficult situations and temptations that lie ahead.
Gather information and tips to help you create your new non-smoking environment, avoid weight gain and triggers, and put new habits to use.
For starters, visit the American Cancer Society’s Web site at www.cancer.org
4. Remember to reward yourself for each day that you don’t light up.
A reward of some kind, like buying a new CD, renting a movie or calling a close friend, helps to remind yourself that what you’re doing is important. And it is!
Every cigarette you don’t smoke lengthens your life by about seven minutes.
After five years of quitting, you cut your risk of heart attack in half.