Refresh Yourself! Stop Smoking

An x-ray of a smoker's lungs

Kicking the cigarette habit can be tough. Yet, many people like yourself have
managed to break free from cigarettes. They were ready to quit and planned ahead
to avoid cravings and temptations. And many people who have quit tried several
times before they succeeded. You can stop smoking too! Join the growing number
of African Americans who quit. This brochure offers tips that really work. Make
a plan that works for you and stick to it. Congratulations on taking this
important step to a healthy life.

When you stop smoking you:

  • Lower your risk of:
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Lung diseases like emphysema or bronchitis
  • Having unhealthy babies
  • Improve your chances for a longer and healthier life.
  • Have fresher smelling clothes, hair, and breath.
  • Save the money you used to buy cigarettes.
  • Stop hurting those around you. The secondhand smoke from your cigarettes can
    make your family and friends have more colds and asthma attacks. It can also put
    them at risk for heart and lung diseases.

Get started!

Pick a quit day within 2 to 4 weeks from today. This is the most important
day of your life. Set a quit date now.

Celebrate the Healthier You!

I will quit on ____________________(date).

Before you quit:

  • Tell your family, friends, coworkers, pastor, and congregation. Ask them for
    support and understanding.
  • Write down the reasons you want to quit. Put a copy on the refrigerator
    where you will see it each day.
  • Throw out all your cigarettes, lighters, and ash trays.
  • Do not buy any more cigarettes.

Make a plan to stay off cigarettes:

  • Stay away from other tobacco products, such as cigars, pipes, and chewing
  • At first, avoid places that make you want to smoke. Instead, plan to spend
    time where smoking is not allowed, like the library, movie theaters, church,
    department stores, or a museum.
  • Review your past attempts to quit. Think about what worked and what did not.
  • Reward yourself. Quitting can be hard work. Don¹t think of quitting as
    giving something up. Rather, think of it as gaining good health. Treat yourself
    to something special with the money you will be saving.
  • Get other smokers in your household to join you in quitting.

Dodge the urge.

Try these healthier substitutes for smoking:

  • To keep your hands busy: Draw, write, read the paper, knit, work crossword
    puzzles, polish your nails.
  • Frustrated? Angry? Stressed out? Upset?: Relax, take a deep breath, walk
    away. Talk with someone close to you, walk outside, exercise, listen to music.
  • When you first get up in the morning: Brush your teeth, use mouthwash,
    change your routine.
  • While on the phone: Chew sugarless gum or drink water through a straw.
  • After meals: Brush your teeth; call a friend; or sip a cup of hot tea.
  • Going to a party or restaurant?: Do not order alcohol or fatty foods. Do
    chew gum; drink lots of water; after dinner try flavored tea instead of coffee.

The best ways to quit.

Use a combination of these three:

  1. Use the nicotine patch or gum. The patch or the gum helps slow down the urge
    to smoke. This reduces the craving for nicotine when you stop smoking. Follow
    the package directions when you use the patch or gum. Ask your doctor for
  2. Get support and encouragement. You may want to join a quit smoking program.
    Seek advice from a health care provider.
  3. Learn how to handle stress and urges to smoke. Be aware of the things that
    may cause you to want to smoke.

Be aware of temptations and slips

The nicotine in cigarettes is addictive. The first few weeks after you stop
smoking are the most difficult ones. Your body goes through nicotine withdrawal.
Stay focused. Soon you will be SMOKE-FREE. If you start smoking again, don¹t
give up. Slips are a chance to learn, not to give up. It takes practice to quit.
Keep trying!

Be the person you would like to be!

Celebrate your success: 1 week, 1 month, 1 year at a time.

  • Keep a calendar and chart your success.
  • Occasionally write down new reasons why you¹re glad you¹ve quit.
  • Use the money you have saved to buy something you¹ve always wanted.

What about gaining weight?

Most people gain weight after quitting. While it is hard to change a lot of
habits at one time, try going out for a walk after dinner. You¹ll avoid the urge
to reach for a cigarette after you eat, and you¹ll get some exercise.

Save a life–Your own!

My three most important reasons for wanting to




Two people I can call to help me:
Name_________________________________ Phone__________________
Name_________________________________ Phone__________________

Health Service
National Institutes of Health
National Heart, Lung, and
Blood Institute
NIH Publication No. 97-4065