Was one of your new year’s resolutions to quit smoking?
The best way to succeed in quitting smoking is to make a firm decision to quit and create a plan to stick to it. Perhaps that was your intention this time. Perhaps it’s not your first attempt to quit.
That’s okay! You are not a failure. You can try again and be successful. If you were able to quit smoking for just 24 hours in the past few months or weeks, you have doubled your chances of quitting for good in the coming year!
Tools for Success
Talking to your doctor, going to group counseling, and taking medications are all ways to stay on track and be successful in your journey to quit smoking.
When you quit smoking, you may need support to cope with your body’s desire for nicotine. Nicotine replacement products help some smokers quit. You can buy gum, patches, or lozenges over the counter.
There are also products that require a doctor’s prescription. A nicotine nasal spray or inhaler can reduce withdrawal symptoms and make it easier for you to quit smoking. Other drugs may also help with withdrawal symptoms. Talk with your doctor about which medicines might be best for you.
Cigars, Pipes, Chewing Tobacco, and Snuff Are Not Safe
Some people think smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco and snuff), pipes, and cigars are safe alternatives to cigarettes. They are not. Smokeless tobacco causes cancer of the mouth and pancreas. It also causes precancerous lesions, gum problems, and nicotine addiction. Pipe and cigar smokers may develop cancer of the mouth, lip, larynx, esophagus, and bladder. Those who inhale when smoking are also at increased risk of getting lung cancer.
Secondhand smoke created by cigarettes, cigars, and pipes can cause serious health problems for family, friends, and even pets! Secondhand smoke is especially dangerous for people who already have lung or heart disease. In adults, secondhand smoke can cause heart disease and lung cancer. In babies, it can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which is the unexplained death of a baby younger than one year of age. Children are also more likely to have lung problems, ear infections, and severe asthma if they are around secondhand smoke.
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, deliver nicotine, flavor, and other chemicals that are inhaled by the user. In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began regulating all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, which must now include the warning statement: “This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.”
Good News about Quitting
The good news is that after you quit:
- Your lungs, heart, and circulatory system will begin to function better.
- Your chance of having a heart attack or stroke will drop.
- Your breathing will improve.
- Your chance of getting cancer will be lower.
No matter how old you are, all of these health benefits are important reasons to make a plan to stop smoking.
Make a Plan
- Talk with your doctor.
- Make a plan for dealing with urges to smoke.
- Read self-help information.
- Go to individual or group counseling.
- Try the online mobile tools from Smokefree60+ at www.60plus.smokefree.gov.
- Ask a friend for help.
- Take medicine to help with symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.
Need help on the go? Call a smoking quitline. A trained counselor can help you stop smoking or stay on track. You can call:
- The National Cancer Institute’s Smoking Quitline, 1-877-448-7848 (1-877-44U-QUIT)
- Smokefree.gov, which connects you with your State’s Quitline, 1-800-784-8669 (1-800-QUITNOW)
- Veterans Smoking Quitline, 1-855-784-8838 (1-855-QUITVET)