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 headaches or
cravings. The good news is that these things are at their worst in the first 2
to 3 weeks after you quit, although they can last longer. And there are things that can help.
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.
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. Friends and
family 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, or one-on-one
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 messages.
- Quitting Smoking: Getting Support
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?).
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.