Quit to Live: How and Why to Quit Smoking Today

A man smokingMake this year the year you or someone close to you quits smoking.

The following information may be helpful to your efforts. If you’re looking
to quit,
we encourage you to contact 1–800–QUIT–NOW or http://www.smokefree.gov for
additional support.

Quitting Information

  • In 2004, 44.5 million adults (20.9 percent) in the United States were
    current smokers—23.4 percent of men and 18.5 percent of women. An estimated 70
    percent of these smokers said they wanted to quit.
  • An estimated 14.6 million (40.5 percent) adult everyday smokers in 2004 had
    stopped smoking for at least 1 day during the preceding 12 months because they
    were trying to quit.
  • An estimated 45.6 million adults were former smokers in 2004, representing
    50.6 percent of those who had ever smoked.

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Health Consequences of Smoking — Major Conclusions of
the 2004 Surgeon General Report

  • Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and
    reducing the health of smokers in general.
  • Quitting smoking has immediate as well as long–term benefits, reducing risks
    for diseases caused by smoking and improving health in general.
  • Smoking cigarettes with lower machine-measured yields of tar and nicotine
    provides no clear benefit to health.
  • The list of diseases caused by smoking has been expanded to include
    abdominal aortic aneurysm, acute myeloid leukemia, cataract, cervical cancer,
    kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, pneumonia, periodontitis, and stomach cancer.
    These are in addition to diseases previously known to be caused by smoking,
    including bladder, esophageal, laryngeal, lung, oral, and throat cancers,
    chronic lung diseases, coronary heart and cardiovascular diseases, as well as
    reproductive effects and sudden infant death syndrome.

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Lung Cancer, Smoking, and Secondhand Smoke

  • Cigarette smoking causes lung cancer. In fact, smoking tobacco is the major
    risk factor for lung cancer. In the United States, about 90 percent of lung
    cancer deaths in men and almost 80 percent of lung cancer deaths in women are
    due to smoking. People who smoke are 10 to 20 times more likely to get lung
    cancer or die from lung cancer than people who do not smoke. The longer a person
    smokes and the more cigarettes smoked each day increases a person’s risk for
    developing lung cancer.
  • People who quit smoking have a lower risk of lung cancer than if they had
    continued to smoke, but their risk is higher than people who never smoked.
  • Smoke from other people’s cigarettes, known as secondhand smoke, causes lung
    cancer as well. There are more than 4,000 chemicals in secondhand smoke. More
    than 50 of these chemicals cause cancer in people or animals. Every year, about
    3,000 nonsmokers die from lung cancer due to secondhand smoke.

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You Can Quit Smoking

  • If you have tried to quit smoking, you know how hard it can be.
  • Nicotine is a very addictive drug, and usually people make two or three
    tries, or more, before they successfully quit.
  • Each time you try to quit, you can learn what works for you and what
    situations are problematic.
  • Using proven cessation treatments can double your chance of success.

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Five Keys for Quitting Smoking

Studies have shown that these five steps will help you quit and quit for
good. You have the best chances of quitting if you use them together.

  1. Get Ready
  2. Get Support
  3. Learn new skills
    and behaviors
  4. Get medication
    and use it correctly.
  5. Be prepared for
    relapse or difficult situations.

1. Get Ready

  • Set a quit date.
  • Change your environment.
    1. Get rid of ALL cigarettes and ashtrays in your home, car, and place
      of work.
    2. Don’t let people smoke around you.
  • Review your past attempts to quit. Think about what worked and what did
  • Once you quit, don’t smoke—NOT EVEN A PUFF!

2. Get Support and Encouragement

Studies have shown that you have a better chance of being successful if you
have help. You can
get support in many ways —

  • Tell your family, friends, and co-workers that you are going to quit and
    want their support. Ask them not to smoke around you or leave cigarettes out
    where you can see them.
  • Talk to your health care provider (e.g., doctor, dentist, nurse, pharmacist,
    psychologist, or smoking cessation coach or counselor).
  • Get individual, group, or telephone counseling. Counseling doubles your
    chances of success.
  • The more help you have, the better your chances are of quitting. Programs
    are available at local hospitals and health centers free. Call your local health
    department for information about programs in your area.
  • Telephone counseling is available at 1–800–QUIT–NOW.

3. Learn New Skills and Behaviors

  • Try to distract yourself from urges to smoke. Talk to someone, go for a
    walk, or get busy with a task.
  • When you first try to quit, change your routine. Use a different route to
    work. Drink tea instead of coffee. Eat breakfast in a different place.
  • Do something to reduce your stress. Take a hot bath, exercise, or read a
  • Plan something enjoyable to do every day.
  • Drink a lot of water and other fluids.

4. Get Medication and Use It Correctly

Medications can help you stop smoking and lessen the urge to smoke.

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved six medications to
    help you quit smoking:

    1. Bupropion SR—Available by prescription.
    2. Nicotine gum—Available over–the–counter.
    3. Nicotine inhaler—Available by prescription.
    4. Nicotine nasal spray—Available by prescription.
    5. Nicotine patch—Available by prescription and over-the-counter.
    6. Nicotine lozenge—Available over–the–counter.
  • Ask your health care provider for advice and carefully read the information
    on the package.
  • All of these medications will double your chances of quitting and quitting
    for good.
  • Nearly everyone who is trying to quit can benefit from using a medication.
    However, if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, nursing, under age
    18, smoking fewer than 10 cigarettes per day, or have a medical condition, talk
    to your doctor or other health care provider before taking medications.

5. Be Prepared for Relapse or Difficult Situations

Most relapses occur within the first three months after quitting. Don’t be
discouraged if you start