Skip to content

Lung Disease & Respiratory Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

At Last, Quit Smoking for Good

7 tips for quitting cigarettes -- no matter how many times you’ve tried before.
By
WebMD Feature

If you have COPD, the most important step you can take to manage your condition is to quit smoking.

Your second most important step is to live in a smoke-free environment.

Recommended Related to Lung Disease/Respiratory Problems

Mesothelioma: Tests, Diagnosis, and Treatments

Mesothelioma is cancer of the mesothelium, a protective membrane that lines many of the body's internal organs. Most often, mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the lungs, called the pleura. Mesothelioma is most often diagnosed after a patient sees a doctor because of symptoms such as pain in the lower back, shortness of breath, fatigue, weight loss, abdominal pain and/or swelling. But symptoms alone will not tell your doctor if you have mesothelioma. A medical history, physical exam, and diagnostic...

Read the Mesothelioma: Tests, Diagnosis, and Treatments article > >

Whether you directly inhale smoke or get it from secondhand smoke, cigarette smoke accelerates the damage already going on in the lungs. Avoiding smoke slows the damage and actually slows the progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

In addition, when you quit smoking, you lower the risk for you and those around you of other serious health problems like heart disease.

Quitting cigarettes can make the difference between living longer and well - and not living at all. That’s especially true now that COPD is a part of your life. The good news is smoking is a risk factor you can control. Here’s how.

1. Set a Date to Quit Smoking

If you want to quit smoking, it helps to set a quit date, says Lindy Wolfenden, MD. Wolfenden is an assistant professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. She is also director of the outpatient pulmonary function laboratory at Emory Clinic. Setting a date to quit formalizes the attempt to quit. And while it may still take several attempts, the likelihood of permanently quitting goes up with each attempt you make.

When you choose a date to quit smoking, make it one when it is less likely you’ll have added stress. Stress is a major roadblock to any behavioral change. That’s especially true when you try to quit smoking.

Mark the quit date on your calendar. Experts recommend that as it approaches you stay mentally and emotionally focused on this date as a time for new beginnings and better health.

2. Expect to Feel Miserable

When you first quit smoking, it will be rough. You might feel miserable, irritable, even depressed. But according to the American Lung Association, nicotine clears out of the system quickly. It is usually in the undetectable range within 24 hours after someone quits.

For a few weeks, you might feel hungrier than normal. You may want to eat snacks all day long -- anything to occupy your hands and mouth. Once you get past the first few days, though, you will begin to feel more in control.

Keep sugarless gum or hard candy in your pocket during this time as a short-term “fix” when you crave a cigarette.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Today on WebMD

man coughing
You may not even know you have it.
blood clot
Signs of this potentially fatal complication.
 
man coughing
When a cold becomes bronchitis.
human lungs
Causes behind painful breathing, fluid buildup.
 

chest x-ray
Slideshow
Bronchitis Overview
SLIDESHOW
 
Copd Myth Fact Quiz
QUIZ
Energy Boosting Foods
SLIDESHOW
 

lungs
Article
smokestacks
Article
 
woman coughing
Article
Lung xray and caduceus
Article