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Quitting Smoking - Overview

Is this topic for you?

In this topic, you'll find strategies for quitting smoking and staying smoke-free. Find where you want to go now:

Are you ready to quit?

Maybe you have already taken your last puff or are ready to quit today. That's great. This information will help you keep your resolve to kick the habit for good.

Or maybe you want to plan ahead before you quit. How ready are you to quit? To find out, use the Interactive Tool: Are You Ready to Quit Smoking? calculator.gif

It's okay if you aren't ready now. But you may want to quit at some point. So keep learning and preparing yourself. Many smokers do quit. You can too.

Why do you want to quit?

Think about why you want to quit. Maybe you want to protect your heart and your health and live longer. Or maybe you want to be a good role model for your kids or spend your money on something besides cigarettes. Your reason for wanting to change is important. If your reason comes from you—and not someone else—it will be easier for you to try to quit for good.

Find out how smoking can affect you:

How can you quit?

Quitting smoking is hard. Some people who have quit say that it was the hardest thing they have ever done. But many people like you have been able to quit smoking. And you don't have to do it alone. Ask your family, friends, and doctor to help you. Get what you need to help you quit for good.

  • Get ready. If you're ready to quit right now, go ahead. Medicines and support can help you stay on track. But if you want to plan ahead, you don't have to stop right away. Set a date to quit. Pick a time when you won't have a lot of stress in your life. Get rid of ashtrays, lighters, or spit cups before you quit. Don't let people smoke in your house.
  • Change your routine. For example, if you smoke after eating, take a walk instead.
  • Use medicine. It can help with cravings and stress, and it doubles your chances of quitting smoking.1 You can buy nicotine gum, lozenges, or patches camera.gif without a prescription. Your doctor may also prescribe medicine, such as bupropion (Zyban) or varenicline (Chantix).
  • Get support. Seek help from:
    • The national tobacco quitline: 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669).
    • Your state health department or a stop-smoking program, such as the American Lung Association's Freedom from Smoking program.
    • Doctors, nurses, or therapists for counseling.
    • A friend who has quit smoking.

After you quit, try not to smoke at all—not even one puff. Prevent a slip (smoking one or two cigarettes) or relapse (returning to regular smoking) by avoiding smoking triggers, at least at first. These triggers can include alcohol and stress. Don't keep cigarettes in your house or car. If you do slip, stay calm. Remind yourself that you have a plan, and think about how hard you've worked to quit for good.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 12, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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