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What's the Best Way to Quit Smoking?

Our expert gives tips on ending the cigarette habit for good.
By
WebMD Magazine - Feature
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

In every issue of WebMD the Magazine, we ask our experts to answer readers' questions about a wide range of topics. In our November-December 2011 issue, we asked James Beckerman, MD, WebMD's heart health expert, for tips on quitting smoking.

Q: I'm finally ready to quit smoking. Do you have any tips for making it easier?

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Description of the Evidence

Background Incidence and mortality Lung cancer has a tremendous impact on the health of the American public, with an estimated 228,190 new cases and 159,480 deaths predicted in 2013 in men and women combined.[1] Lung cancer causes more deaths per year in the United States than the next four leading causes of cancer death combined. Lung cancer incidence and mortality rates increased markedly throughout most of the last century, first in men and then in women. The trends in lung cancer...

Read the Description of the Evidence article > >

A: We all know that being tobacco-free is essential to a healthy life. In fact, the most recent report from the Surgeon General details how any exposure to tobacco smoke is harmful. Here are some pointers for quitting:

Make it your idea. I talk about smoking cessation every day. But I can tell which way things are going to go pretty quickly by asking just one simple question: "Do you want to quit?"  People who truly want to quit are generally successful. Those who don't find it more challenging. 

Make it convenient. Ashtrays, matches, or lighters can all trigger your desire to smoke. When you plan your quit date, make sure that these reminders are out of the way, too.

Don't avoid medication. Understandably, many people seek a natural approach to lifestyle changes. But research data confirms: It's very hard to quit on your own. Nicotine addiction is an acquired medical condition. Talk to your doctor about smoking cessation aids. They can double your chances of quitting successfully.

Quitting isn't easy -- that's why so many people try it several times before succeeding. But with a goal in mind, smoking accessories out of sight, and the help of some medications, you can finally kick the habit.

Reviewed on August 12, 2011

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