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7:35 AM CDT, Thu March 30, 2017

How Can You Get Ready to Quit Smoking?

December 08, 2014, 12:00 PM
How Can You Get Ready to Quit Smoking?
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Quitting smoking can be hard, so a good plan can help you get past symptoms of withdrawal. Five steps can help.

  1. Set a quit date. December 26th is a great time to quit. Or choose another quit day within the next 2 weeks before then.
  2. Tell your family and friends you plan to quit. Share your quit date with the important people in your life and ask for support. A daily email, text message, or phone call can help you stay on course and provide moral support. Try SmokefreeTEXT for 24/7 help on your mobile phone.

    Plan a smoke-free lunch date or game night to distract yourself. Or gather your family in the kitchen to cook a special meal together.
  3. Anticipate and plan for challenges. The urge to smoke is short, usually only 3 to 5 minutes. Surprised? Those moments can feel intense. Before your quit day, write down healthy ways to cope. Even one puff can feed a craving and make it stronger. Smart moves include:
    • Drinking water
    • Taking a walk or climbing the stairs
    • Listening to a favorite song or playing a game
    • Calling or texting a friend
  4. Remove cigarettes and other tobacco from your home, car, and workplace. Throw away your cigarettes, matches, lighters, and ashtrays. Clean and freshen your car, home, and workplace. Old cigarette odors can cause cravings.
  5. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor about quit options. Nicotine patches, gum, or other medicines may help with cravings.

What Are Your Reasons for Quitting?

Maybe you want to be healthier, save money for something special, or make your family proud. Write down your own reasons for quitting. They can help you stay strong. Keep the list handy and read it when you get the urge to smoke.

For Tiffany, her daughter provided a strong reason to quit smoking—one that became more urgent as the girl grew older. When Tiffany was only 16, her mother, a cigarette smoker, died of lung cancer. Tiffany greatly missed having her mother around for the milestones in her life and vowed that her daughter would not feel that same pain.

Seeing her own daughter become a teenager inspired Tiffany to take action. Tiffany shared her quitting story in CDC's national tobacco education campaign, Tips From Former Smokers.

Reward Yourself Often

Quitting smoking happens 1 minute, 1 hour, and 1 day at a time. Reward yourself often! Grab a carrot stick, practice a yoga pose, take a 3-minute break to watch a funny video, or shoot hoops with a friend after work.

Plan each milestone with a reward: a half-day smoke-free, 24 hours, 1 week, and beyond as you become a nonsmoker.

How Soon Will You See Rewards After Quitting?

You may be surprised at how quickly your body begins healing and your savings add up.

  • Within 20 minutes, your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
  • By bedtime, the carbon monoxide in your blood drops to normal. Every part of your body now gets more oxygen.
  • In 24 hours, you'll have more spending money. If you smoke two $10 packs a day—that's $20 saved in a day!
  • In a year, your risk for heart disease is half that of someone who still smokes.

You Can Do It!

The first day of a quit, a pleasant surprise for many people is finding their own personal strength. Congratulate yourself! You have what it takes to quit forever.

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Periodic health check-ups and screenings with your health care provider are key to maximizing your chance of living a longer and healthier life. Not only can they help prevent health problems before they start, but check-ups may also help you discover health problems early enough to increase your chances of successful treatment and recovery!

The specific screenings and exams you need depend on your age, health, family history, and lifestyle choices (diet, exercise, smoking, etc.). This week, visit http://www.healthfinder.gov/prevention/myhealthfinder.aspx to find age- and gender-specific guidelines for how often and for what health areas you should seek physician advice. After reviewing the guidelines, consider scheduling an appointment with your health care provider.


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