Quit Smoking (cont.)

After you've quit, you've added healthy, full days to each year of your life. You've greatly lowered your risk of death from lung cancer and other diseases including:

You've also cut back on dangerous second-hand smoke for your loved ones. Finally, by quitting smoking, you're setting a good example. You're showing young people that a life without cigarettes is a longer, healthier, happier life.

Withdrawal: How You May Feel When You Quit

Common feelings of smoking withdrawal include:
  • Feeling depressed
  • Not being able to sleep
  • Getting cranky, frustrated, or mad
  • Feeling anxious, nervous, or restless
  • Having trouble thinking clearly
  • Feeling hungry or gaining weight

Not everyone has feelings of withdrawal. You may have one or many of these problems. And they may last different amounts of time. The medicines described in this guide can help.

What To Do If You Do Slip

Don't be discouraged if you slip up and smoke one or two cigarettes. It's not a lost cause. One cigarette is better than an entire pack. But that doesn't mean you can safely smoke every now and then...no matter how long ago you quit. One cigarette may seem harmless, but it can quickly lead back to one or two packs a day.

Many ex-smokers had to try stopping many times before they finally succeeded. When people slip up, it's usually within the first three months after quitting. Here's what you can do if this happens:

  • Understand that you've had a slip. You've had a small setback. This doesn't make you a smoker again.
  • Don't be too hard on yourself. One slip up doesn't make you a failure. It doesn't mean you can't quit for good.
  • Don't be too easy on yourself either. If you slip up, don't say, "Well, I've blown it. I might as well smoke the rest of this pack." It's important to get back on the non-smoking track right away. Remember, your goal is no cigarettes - not even one puff.
  • Feel good about all the time you went without smoking. Try to learn how to make your coping skills better.
  • Find the trigger. Exactly what was it that made you smoke? Be aware of that trigger. Decide now how you will cope with it when it comes up again.
  • Learn from your experience. What has helped you the most to keep from smoking? Make sure to do that on your next try.
  • Are you using a medicine to help you quit? Don't stop using your medicine after only one or two cigarettes. Stay with it. It will help you get back on track.
  • Know and use the tips in this booklet. People with even one coping skill are more likely to stay non-smokers than those who don't know any. START to stop again!
  • See your doctor or another health professional. He or she can help motivate you to quit smoking.

Sticking With It

Beating an addiction to nicotine takes a lot of will power and determination. You should feel great about yourself for making it so far. Now's the time to focus on sticking with it.

Keeping Your Guard Up

Your body has changed since you began to smoke. Your brain has learned to crave nicotine. So certain places, people, or events can trigger a strong urge to smoke, even years after quitting. That's why you should never take a puff again, no matter how long it has been since you quit.

At first, you may not be able to do things as well as when you were smoking. Don't worry. This won't last long. Your mind and body just need to get used to being without nicotine.

After you've quit, the urge to smoke often hits at the same times. For many people, the hardest place to resist the urge is at home. And many urges hit when someone else is smoking nearby. Look at your Craving Journal to see when you might be tempted. Then use the skills you've learned to get through your urges without smoking.

Fighting The Urges

Review the tips in this guide to help you fight the urge to smoke. These tips are meant to help you stay a non-smoker.

Staying Upbeat

As you go through the first days and weeks without smoking, keep a positive outlook. Don't blame or punish yourself if you do have a cigarette. Don't think of smoking as "all or none." Instead, take it one day at a time. Remember that quitting is a learning process.

Keep Rewarding Yourself For Not Smoking

Now that you aren't buying cigarettes, you probably have more spending money. For example, if you used to smoke one pack per day:
After You've saved
1 day $5
1 week $35
1 month $150
1 year $1,820
10 years $18,200
20 years $36,400