Get Ready To Quit Smoking

Updated:Jun 11,2015

preparedCongratulations! You've decided to quit smoking. This is one of the best things you can do to improve your overall health and add years to your life. Nonsmokers generally live longer than people who continue to smoke.

You're more likely to quit smoking for good if you prepare for two things: 1) your last cigarette and 2) the cravings, urges and feelings that come with quitting.

Look at quitting as a five-step process:

1. Set a Quit Date and sign the No-Smoking Contract.

Choose a date within the next seven days when you'll quit smoking. Complete and sign the No-Smoking Contract in front of witnesses who will support you. Use the time until your Quit Day to prepare and to gradually cut down on the number of cigarettes you smoke.

Complete the No-Smoking Contract (PDF)

Choose a date within the next seven days when you'll quit smoking. Complete and sign the No-Smoking Contract in front of witnesses who will support you. Use the time until your Quit Day to prepare and to gradually cut down on the number of cigarettes you smoke.

Complete the No-Smoking Contract (PDF)

There are three ways to quit smoking. Choose the method or combination you think will work best for you.

  1. "Cold turkey": Just stop smoking all at once on your Quit Day. This method doesn't prolong the quitting process.
     
  2. Reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke each day until you stop smoking completely. For example, if you smoke 20 cigarettes each day now, cut down to 10 per day for two or three days. Then cut down to five cigarettes for two or three days. On your Quit Day, stop smoking completely.
     
  3. Smoke only part of each cigarette. It helps to count how many puffs you take from each cigarette and reduce the number every two or three days. On your Quit Day, stop smoking completely.

Sometimes medicines can help make your first few weeks easier. Take this quiz to find out if medicines might help you.

  1. How many cigarettes do you smoke per day?

    0–5
    6–10
    11–15
    16–20
    21–25
    More than 25

  2. When you are home sick and stay in bed all stay, do you still smoke?

    Yes
    No
     
  3. After you wake up in the morning, do you have your first cigarette within 30 minutes?

    Yes
    No

If you smoke more than 25 cigarettes per day, and you answered "Yes" to question No. 2 or No. 3, you may be addicted to nicotine. A nicotine replacement medicine (gum, spray, patch or inhaler) may help you stop smoking.

There are also non-nicotine replacement medicines that can help curb your withdrawal symptoms. However, the FDA has notified the public that the use of varenicline or bupropion has been associated with reports of behavior changes including hostility, agitation, depressed mood, and suicidal thoughts or actions. The FDA is requiring the manufacturers of these products to add a new Boxed Warning to the product labeling to alert healthcare professionals to this important new safety information.

  • While taking these drugs, if you experience any serious and unusual changes in mood or behavior or feel like hurting yourself or someone else, you should stop taking the medicine and call you healthcare professional right away.
  • Friends or family members who notice these changes in behavior in someone who is taking varenicline or bupropion for smoking cessation should tell the person their concerns and recommend that he or she stop taking the drug and call a healthcare professional right away.
Medicines are most helpful when they're used correctly and combined with a behavior-modification program like this one. Call your doctor's office to discuss which medicine is best for you, and to get instructions about how to use it.

Learn more about medicines to help you quit.

 

Use this checklist on the day before your Quit Day. If you can check off all three items, you're well prepared.

____ I have foods to eat when I quit smoking, such as:
  • Fresh fruits
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Sugar-free chewing gum
  • Other healthy foods I like: _______________________________
____

Each day I don't smoke, I plan to mark my success with one of these activities:

  • Watch a movie
  • Visit my friends
  • Take a walk
  • Do a hobby
  • Do other activities I enjoy: __________________________
____

I got rid of every cigarette, match, lighter, ashtray and butt from my house and car.

Congratulate yourself for taking a huge step toward better health!

As soon as you quit, your blood circulation increases, your blood pressure and heart rate quickly improve and the carbon monoxide and oxygen levels in your blood soon return to normal.

Within a few days of quitting, your breathing becomes easier and your senses of smell and taste improve.

Your urges to smoke should decrease daily after you quit smoking.Understand your urges and what you can do about them.

Get a calendar and every day mark the number of days since you've had a cigarette. As the days pass, you'll see how much time you have invested in quitting — one more reason to stay quit.

Get more personalized help if you need it. Quitting smoking is never easy. If you have trouble, ask your doctor, nurse or rehab center staff about more intensive programs to help you. Contact or visit the websites of the American Cancer Society or American Lung Association to get information about group programs.

You can also call 1-800-Quit Now (1-800-784-8669) for free smoking cessation information, advise, support and referrals to quit-smoking resources in your local area. Or, visit BeTobaccoFree.Gov.



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Last reviewed 6/2015