Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Smoking Cessation Health Center

Font Size

Smoking and Heart Disease

What Should I Do to Stop Smoking?

Pick a date to stop smoking and then stick to it.

Write down your reasons for quitting smoking. Read over the list every day, before and after you quit.

Write down when you smoke, why you smoke, and what you are doing when you smoke. You will learn what triggers you to smoke.

Stop smoking cigarettes in certain situations, such as during your work break or after dinner, before actually quitting.

Make a list of activities you can do instead of smoking. Be ready to do something else when you want to smoke.

Ask your doctor about medication or about using nicotine gum or patches. Some people find these aids helpful.

Join a smoking cessation support group or program. Call your local chapter of the American Lung Association.

How Can I Avoid Smoking Again?

Don't carry a lighter, matches, or cigarettes. Keep all of these smoking reminders out of sight.

If you live with a smoker, ask that person not to smoke in your presence, or better yet, to quit with you.

Don't focus on what you are missing. Think about the healthier way of life you are gaining.

When you get the urge to smoke, take a deep breath. Hold it for up to 10 seconds and release it slowly. Repeat this several times until the urge to smoke is gone.

Keep your hands busy. Doodle, play with a pencil or straw, or work on a computer.

Change activities that were connected to smoking cigarettes. Take a walk or read a book instead of taking a cigarette break.

When you can, avoid places, people, and situations associated with smoking. Hang out with nonsmokers or go to places that don't allow smoking, such as the movies, museums, shops, or libraries.

Don't substitute food or sugar-based products for cigarette smoking. Eat low-calorie, healthful foods (such as carrot or celery sticks, sugar-free hard candies) or chew gum when the urge to smoke strikes so you can avoid weight gain.

Drink plenty of fluids, but limit alcoholic and caffeinated beverages. They can trigger urges to smoke.

Exercise! Exercising will help you relax, too.

Get support for quitting. Tell others about your milestones with pride.

Work with your doctor to develop a plan using over-the-counter nicotine-replacement aids or prescription medication.

 

How Will I Feel When I Quit Smoking?

You may crave cigarettes, be irritable, feel very hungry, cough often, get headaches, or have difficulty concentrating. These symptoms of withdrawal occur because your body is used to nicotine, the active addictive agent within cigarettes.

When withdrawal symptoms occur within the first two weeks after quitting, stay in control. Think about your reasons for quitting. Remind yourself that these are signs that your body is healing and getting used to being without cigarettes.

WebMD Medical Reference

Today on WebMD

hands breaking a cigarette
Is quitting cold turkey an effective method?
ashtray
14 tips to get you through the first hard days.
 
smoking man
Surprising impacts of tobacco on the body.
cigarette smoke
What happens when you kick the habit?
 

Filtered cigarettes
ARTICLE
an array of e cigarettes
ARTICLE
 
human heart
ARTICLE
Woman experiencing withdrawal symptoms
ARTICLE
 

man smoking cigarette
ARTICLE
no smoking sign
VIDEO
 
Woman ashing cigarette in ashtray
ARTICLE
chain watch
ARTICLE