Quit Smoking (cont.)

Children who breathe second-hand smoke have troubles too. They are much more likely to have breathing problems such as asthma. They also get more ear and lung infections (like pneumonia).

Pregnant or thinking about having a baby?

There's no better time to quit than now.

Women who smoke have a harder time getting pregnant. And you face more dangers if you do get pregnant:

  • You may lose the baby or have a stillborn (dead) baby.
  • Your baby may be born small.
  • Your baby is more likely to die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Your baby may be cranky, restless, and get sick more often.
  • Your baby is more likely to have learning problems.

The good news is that quitting can help you have a healthy baby. It helps to quit at any time while you are pregnant. It's even better to quit before you get pregnant.

Adapted from Women and Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General - 2001. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001.

Why is quitting so hard?

Many ex-smokers say quitting was the hardest thing they ever did. Do you feel hooked? You're probably addicted to nicotine. Nicotine is in all tobacco products. It makes you feel calm and satisfied. At the same time, you feel more alert and focused. The more you smoke, the more nicotine you need to feel good. Soon, you don't feel "normal" without nicotine. It takes time to break free from nicotine addiction. It may take more than one try to quit for good. So don't give up too soon. You will feel good again.

Quitting is also hard because smoking is a big part of your life. You enjoy holding cigarettes and puffing on them. You may smoke when you are stressed, bored, or angry. After months and years of lighting up, smoking becomes part of your daily routine. You may light up without even thinking about it.

Smoking goes with other things, too. You may light up when you feel a certain way or do certain things. For example:

  • Drinking coffee, wine, or beer
  • Talking on the phone
  • Driving
  • Being with other smokers

You may even feel uncomfortable not smoking at times or in places where you usually have a cigarette. These times and places are called "triggers." That's because they trigger, or turn on, cigarette cravings. Breaking these habits is the hardest part of quitting for some smokers.

Quitting isn't easy. Just reading this guide won't do it. It may take several tries. But you learn something each time you try. It takes will power and strength to beat your addiction to nicotine. Remember that millions of people have quit smoking for good. You can be one of them!