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Planning to Quit Smoking

Your healthcare provider may have told you that you need to give up tobacco. Only you can decide if and when you're ready to quit. Quitting is hard to do. But the benefits will be worth it. When you decide to quit, come up with a plan that’s right for you. Discuss your plan with your provider. And talk with them about medicines to help you quit.

Man talking to healthcare provider.

Line up support

To quit smoking, you’ll need a plan and some help. Pick a date in the next 2 to 4 weeks to quit. Use the time between now and that date to arrange for support.

  • Classes and counselors. Quit-smoking classes coach people like you through the process. Get to know others in a class. And support each other beyond the class. Phone counseling also helps you keep on track. Ask your healthcare provider, local hospital, or public health department to put you in touch with a class and a phone counselor.

  • Family and friends. Tell your family and friends about your quit date. Ask them to support your change. If they smoke, only see them in smoke-free places. Don't allow smoking in your home and car.

Be careful with these products

Finding something to replace cigarettes may be hard to do. Some things may be as harmful as cigarettes. These include:

  • Smokeless (chewing) tobacco. This is just as harmful as regular tobacco. Don't use tobacco as a substitute for cigarettes.

  • Herbal medicines or teas. These may affect how your body handles nicotine. Talk with your healthcare provider before using these products.

  • E-cigarettes. E-cigarettes aren't approved by the FDA as a quit-smoking aid. So far, the research shows limited evidence that e-cigarettes are effective at helping smokers quit. They may also have substances that can cause cancer or life-threatening lung conditions. Experts advise not to use these products.

Quit-smoking products

Many products can help you quit smoking. Some are prescription medicines that help curb your cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Other products slowly lessen the level of nicotine your body absorbs. Nicotine is the highly addictive substance found in cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco. Nicotine replacement products can help get your body used to slowly decreasing amounts of nicotine after you quit smoking. These products include a nicotine patch, gum, lozenge, nasal spray, and inhaler. Always follow the directions for your medicine or product carefully. Your healthcare provider may tell you to start taking the prescription medicine 1 week before you plan to quit. Don't smoke while you use nicotine products. Doing so can harm your health.

To learn more

For more helpful tips and resources, visit:

Online Medical Reviewer: Eric Perez MD
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 1/1/2022
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