Quitting Smoking - Topic Overview
Why is it so hard to quit?
Quitting is hard because
your body depends on the nicotine in tobacco. Giving it up is more than
just kicking a bad habit. Your body has to stop
craving the nicotine. Nicotine gum, lozenges, patches,
and other medicines can help reduce the cravings without the harmful effects of
You also have to change
your habits. You may not even think about smoking. You just do it. You may not realize it, but seeing someone smoke—or just seeing cigarettes—may cause you to want to smoke. You may smoke when you drink alcohol or when you are stressed. Or maybe you have a cigarette
with coffee. Before you quit, think of new ways to handle these things. For
example, call a friend or practice deep breathing when you feel stressed. Try
chewing sugarless gum instead of smoking. Go for a walk when you have a break
at work. When you first start your quit, it's okay to stay around nonsmokers. And it's okay to avoid situations where you may be tempted to smoke (like occasions where alcohol will be served) until you feel more confident about staying smoke-free.
What if you feel bad when you are trying to quit?
You are likely to crave cigarettes and to have withdrawal symptoms. You may feel grouchy or restless or you may have a hard time concentrating
for the first 2 to 3 weeks after you quit. It may be hard to focus on tasks.
Or you may have trouble sleeping and want to eat more. But you won't feel bad
forever, and medicine can help. Using medicines and products like nicotine gum
or patches can help with cravings and make it easier to resist smoking.
Will you gain weight?
You may worry about gaining
weight after you stop smoking. This is understandable. In fact, many smokers do gain weight during their quit attempt. In your plan to quit smoking, include eating healthy snacks and doing some physical activity to help you avoid weight gain during your quit.