Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do for your health. The sooner you quit, the sooner your body can start to heal. You will feel better and have more energy to be active with your family and friends.
Still unsure about what to do? Here are just a few reasons to quit.:
Smoking hurts almost every part of the body.
Smoking is the most preventable cause of death and disease
in the United States.
- Lung cancer and many other types of cancer
- Heart disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other lung diseases
- Pregnancy problems
- Gum disease
- Vision loss
- Type 2 diabetes
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Smoking hurts other people
Secondhand smoke can cause health problems for the people around you.
In babies and children, breathing in secondhand smoke can cause:
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Severe asthma attacks
- Ear infections
In adults, breathing in secondhand smoke can cause:
- Heart disease
- Lung cancer
You can quit smoking
Quitting smoking is hard, but millions of people have done it successfully. In fact, more than half of Americans who have ever smoked have quit.
You could be one of them!
Nicotine – the drug found in tobacco – is just as addictive as heroin or cocaine. It’s the nicotine in cigarettes that causes the strong feeling that you want to smoke (craving). Remember – quitting isn’t easy, but it is possible!
Take these steps to help you quit:
- Make a list of the reasons you want to quit.
- Set a quit date and make a plan to deal with cravings.
- Ask your family, friends, and coworkers for support.
- Talk to your doctor about counseling and medicines that can help you quit.
- Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit Smokefree.gov for free help.
You will feel better after you quit.
Your body begins to heal as soon as you quit smoking. Here are some ways you will feel better:
- You will breathe more easily.
- Your senses of taste and smell will improve.
- You will have more energy.
- Your lungs will become stronger, making it easier for you to be active.
- You will cough and wheeze (struggle to breathe) less.
Quitting smoking will help you live a longer, healthier life.
After you quit smoking:
- Your risk of having a heart attack or stroke goes down.
- Your lungs can fight off infection better.
- Your risk of dying from cancer goes down.
- Your blood pressure goes down.
- Your pulse and blood oxygen level return to normal.
- If you have children, you can help them be healthier by quitting smoking. Children whose parents smoke around them are at higher risk for lung and ear infections.
Take these steps to quit smoking.
1. Write down your reasons to quit.
- Make a list of all the reasons you want to quit. For example, your reasons to quit might be to set a healthy example for your children and to save money.
- Keep the list with you to remind yourself why quitting is worth it.
2. Set a quit date.
- Pick a date that gives you enough time to get ready to quit. But make sure it’s soon enough that you don’t lose your motivation.
- Tell your family, friends, and coworkers about your quit date so they can support you.
3. Make a quit plan.
- Think about situations that might trigger you to smoke. Plan how you will handle them without smoking.
- Right before your quit date, go through your house, car, and workplace to get rid of anything that has to do with smoking. Throw away all your cigarettes, ashtrays, lighters, and matches.
- Clean your clothes so they don’t smell like smoke.
4. Change your daily routine.
Changing your routine on your quit date and afterward can help you break habits related to smoking.
- Try taking a different route to work.
- For the first few weeks, avoid activities and places you connect with smoking.
- Do things and go places where smoking isn’t allowed.
- Make getting active and eating healthy part of your quit plan. Instead of smoking: eat healthy snacks, go for walks, and drink lots of water.
5. Break the connection between eating and smoking.
Many people like to smoke when they finish a meal. Here are some ways to break the connection:
- Get up from the table as soon as you are done eating.
- Brush your teeth and think about the fresh, clean feeling in your mouth.
- Try going for a walk after meals.
6. Deal with stress
Manage stress by creating peaceful times in your daily schedule. Try relaxation methods like deep breathing.
7. Manage cravings
When you quit smoking, the urge to smoke will come and go, but it will gradually decrease over time. Most cravings only last a short time.
Here are some ways to manage cravings:
- Do something else with your hands, like washing them, sorting the mail, or washing the dishes.
- Have healthy snacks ready, like carrots, apples, or sugar-free gum.
- Distract yourself with a new activity. Try doing crosswords or other puzzles.
- If you used to smoke while driving, try something new. Take public transportation or ride with a friend.
- Take several deep breaths to help you relax.
Remember, quitting may be hard – so prepare yourself.
8. Talk with a doctor.
A doctor or nurse can help you choose strategies for quitting smoking that are likely to work best for you.
A doctor or a pharmacist can tell you about medicines that can improve your chances of quitting – and how to use these medicines the right way.