Quitting Smoking - Thinking About Quitting?

When you're craving tobacco, it's hard to focus on quitting. Preparing yourself before you quit can help. Before you quit, get ready for a life without nicotine.


One Man's Story:

Planning was key to John's success. "The [stop-smoking] class taught me how to get ready to quit."-John, 39

Read more about John and how he quit smoking.

Think about your reasons for quitting

What would motivate you to quit smoking? Think about it. It's important to have your own reasons for quitting(What is a PDF document?).

Staying healthy is a common reason to want to quit smoking. Or maybe you want to feel more in control of your life, instead of feeling controlled by tobacco. Teens may have other reasons to quit smoking.

Talk to your family and friends about quitting. Their support might help you decide to quit.

Quitting Smoking: Getting Support

Know the risks of smoking

What worries you about smoking? Make a list. Talk about it with your doctor. You may worry about:

Did you know that most all of the health risks of smoking go away if you quit?


One Man's Story:

It was throat pain that helped Nate give up smoking for good. Dealing with a sore throat all the time just wasn't worth it anymore. "In the end, I made up my mind and quit."-Nate, 27

Read more about Nate and how he quit smoking.

Look forward to the rewards

What do you gain by quitting? You can:


Prepare for roadblocks

Possible roadblock

What you need to know

Cravings and nicotine withdrawal. Symptoms include feeling grouchy or having trouble sleeping or concentrating.

Here are some things that can help:

  • Take medicine to help control the symptoms. Using medicine can double your chances of quitting.1
  • Get active.
  • Start a new activity, take a class, or read a book on a subject that interests you.
  • Get counseling and phone support.
  • Try to avoid smoking triggers.
  • Distract yourself with a walk, household chore, or a game.

Failure in the past

If you weren't able to quit in the past, don't lose hope. Each time you try to quit, you will be stronger and will have learned more about what helps and what makes it harder.

Most people try to quit many times before they can quit for good.

Weight gain

You may gain some weight when you stop smoking. Don't try to avoid this by going on a strict diet at the same time. This will make it even harder to stop smoking.

You can take steps to lower your chance of gaining weight:

  • By being more active. This will also help you feel better.
  • By using stop-smoking medicines. They can help you get through the worst of your cravings and may help you avoid putting on too much weight.
Quitting Smoking: Dealing With Weight Gain

Depression or nervousness

Medicines or counseling can help treat nervousness or depression. Talk to your doctor or therapist.

Depression: Should I Take an Antidepressant?
Depression: Stop Negative Thoughts

Lack of support

Support can improve your chances of quitting. Look for people who have stopped smoking, or seek out those family and friends who support your goal to quit. Online and phone support can also help:

  • National tobacco quitline: 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669)
  • Stop-smoking programs, such as the American Lung Association's Freedom from Smoking program (www.lungusa.org) or QuitNet (www.quitnet.com)
  • Check with your local hospital or health department for programs to quit smoking.
Quitting Smoking: Getting Support

Living with or being around someone who smokes

It would be easier for you to quit if those around you didn't smoke. Discuss quitting together. If this isn't an option, talk to the person(s) about not smoking around you and about not leaving their cigarettes in places where you might see them. When you can, avoid places where others are smoking.


If you enjoy smoking when you drink alcohol, you may need to cut down or give up alcohol when you quit smoking, at least for a while.


Stress can lead to smoking, but smoking doesn't really make stress go away. To control stress, learn what causes your stress and how to change the way you react. For suggestions, see the topic Stress Management.

Missing your smoking habits or not being able to avoid smoking triggers

Assess your tobacco use (What is a PDF document?) to discover your smoking triggers. For some people, morning coffee and going out with friends are common smoking triggers.

  • Drinking coffee. Change the way you have coffee: the place, the coffee mug, everything that you did when you were smoking. Or if just drinking coffee makes you want to smoke, try taking a walk during coffee breaks instead.
  • Going out with friends. If drinking makes you want to smoke, see about going to a movie rather than going out for drinks.

Teen issues, such as fitting in with the crowd and dealing with stress

Healthier skin, cleaner teeth, and being seen as more attractive to others are just a few reasons for teens to quit smoking. Quitting can help student athletes perform their best at their sport. Teens who are smoke-free have an easier time being active. And being physically active can help you deal with stress in healthier ways than by smoking.

Substance Abuse: Dealing With Teen Substance Abuse


Quitting smoking when you have other health problems

If you have depression or anxiety, talk to your doctor before you quit smoking. He or she may have helpful ideas on which medicines may work best for you to quit smoking.

Smoking can also affect the level of certain medicines in your blood. If you take medicines for a health problem, talk with your doctor before you quit smoking to see whether you should change the dose of any of your medicines.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
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