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Smoking Cessation Health Center

Smoking and Heart Disease

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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 someone who smokes, ask them not to smoke around you, or better yet, to quit with you.

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

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

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 people who don't smoke. 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, good-for-you 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 may be triggers that make you want to smoke.

Exercise. It helps you burn off stress and relax. Consider starting a fitness program before you quit.

Get support for quitting. Tell people about your progress. Be proud of what you're doing!

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

How Will I Feel When I Quit Smoking?

It probably will be tough for a while, but it's worth it.

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

You'll probably notice it most during the first 2 weeks after quitting. When it happens, remember why you're quitting. Tell yourself that these are signs that your body is healing and getting used to being without cigarettes.

The withdrawal symptoms won't last. They're strongest when you first quit but will usually go away within 10 to 14 days.

You may still want to smoke, especially with certain people or during situations where you're used to smoking. If you smoke again, start over. Most people quit three times before they're successful. Plan ahead and think about what you'll do next time you get the urge to smoke.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on September 15, 2014
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