Congratulations! You are taking a big step. You are ready to quit today. It's exciting. But it can also be scary. If you're not quite ready yet, but you think you will be soon, see the section Thinking About Quitting?
If you've been planning to quit, you may already know that when you stop smoking, you may not feel so great at first. Some people feel grouchy and have cravings. The good news is that these things are at their worst in the first 2 to 3 days. They can last 2 to 3 weeks after you quit, or maybe longer. And there are things that can help.
If you decided to quit today but haven't planned ahead, don't worry. Here are some things to consider to help you succeed:
Using nicotine replacement products and/or medicine doubles your chances of quitting.1 When you quit smoking, your body craves the nicotine that it was used to getting when you smoked. But the nicotine isn't the harmful part of smoking or chewing. It's all the other things in tobacco that are bad for you, such as tar and carbon monoxide. Nicotine from medicine is absorbed so slowly and at such low levels that it is rarely addictive.
- Nicotine replacement products can help with cravings and withdrawal.
- Other medicines that can help are bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix).
Support can help you through the stress of losing this part of your life. Your doctor can prescribe medicines that can get you through withdrawal. And he or she can help you plan the best way to use nicotine replacement products and can refer you to counseling programs. Friends and family (especially those who used to smoke) can provide shoulders to lean on, and they can encourage you to stay smoke-free. They can help distract you when you want to smoke, and they can understand when you're a bit grouchy.
People who use telephone, group, one-on-one, or Internet counseling are much more likely to stop smoking. Experienced counselors have practical ideas that can help you succeed. Here are some ways to get support:
- National tobacco quitline: 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669)
- Counseling from a doctor, nurse, or therapist
- Stop-smoking programs, such as the American Lung Association's Freedom from Smoking program (www.lungusa.org). In these programs you can:
- Get help deciding which medicines may be right for you.
- Use message boards, live chat, and email to talk with counselors and people who have also quit.
- Sign up for daily email or text messages.
Make a plan
If you quit today but haven't planned ahead, now is a good time to plan your quit strategy. Think of problems or barriers you have faced. And think of ways to reward yourself for reaching specific milestones. Write out your personal action plan(What is a PDF document?).
For more information, see the Planning Your Strategy to Quit section of this topic.
Know your reason
You are taking an important step to improve your life. Make sure that you know your reasons for quitting smoking. The most common reason to quit is to live longer. It's a gift you can give yourself and your family.