Quit Smoking (cont.)
There are medicines that can help with feelings of
- Bupropion SR pills
- Nicotine gum
- Nicotine inhaler
- Nicotine lozenge
- Nicotine nasal spray
- Nicotine patch
Using these medicines can double your
chances of quitting for good. Ask your doctor for
advice. But remember: Medicine alone can't do all the
work. It can help with cravings and withdrawal, but
quitting will still be hard at times.
Here is more information about the different
Nicotine Gum, Patch, Inhaler, Spray, and
Nicotine gum, patches, inhalers, sprays, and lozenges
are called nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). That's
because they take the place of nicotine from cigarettes.
NRT can help with withdrawal and lessen your urge to
You need a prescription to buy the inhaler and nasal
spray. But you can buy nicotine gum, nicotine patches,
and nicotine lozenges on your own.
Bupropion SR is a medicine that has no
nicotine. You need a prescription to get these pills.
They seem to help with withdrawal and lessen the urge to
Some people have side effects when using bupropion SR
pills. The side effects include dry mouth and not being
able to sleep.
This medicine isn't right for:
- Pregnant women
- People who have seizures
- People with eating disorders
- Heavy drinkers
Ask your doctor, dentist, or pharmacist if this
medicine is right for you. Make sure to use it the right
way if your doctor prescribes it.
Thinking About Using NRT?
- Ask your doctor, dentist, or pharmacist
if nicotine gum, the patch, or some other kind of
NRT is right for you. These medicines can
cause side effects in some people. Some people
should not use NRT without a doctor's help. Pregnant
women are a good example.
- Be patient. Using NRT correctly
can take some getting used to. Follow the
instructions and give it some time.
- Don't mix tobacco and NRT.
Having one or two cigarettes while you use the gum,
patch, nasal spray, inhaler, or lozenge is not
dangerous, but your goal is to quit smoking for
good. Use NRT only when you are ready to stop
smoking. If you do slip up and smoke a cigarette or
two, don't give up on NRT. Keep trying.
- Start out using enough medicine.
Use the full amount of NRT in the instructions.
Don't skip or forget to use your NRT after you first
- Slowly use less and less medicine.
But don't stop completely until you're ready. You
can set up a schedule with your doctor or
- Keep some of the medicine with you after
you stop using it. This way you'll be ready
for an emergency.
- Wait a half hour after using the gum,
lozenge, or inhaler before you eat or drink anything
acidic. Acidic foods and drinks can keep
nicotine gums and inhalers from working. Acidic
foods and drinks include tomato sauce, tomatoes,
oranges, lemons, grapefruit, coffee, soda, orange
juice, and grapefruit juice.
Bottom line: Read the instructions that come
with the medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if
you have any questions.
Benefits of a Quit-smoking Program
- Your state may have a
toll-free telephone quitline. Call the quitline
to get one-on-one help.
- Call the National Cancer Institute's Smoking Quitline at
1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669). This number works
anywhere in the U.S. You can get one-on-one help
quitting. Or you can ask where to get help in your
- Visit the National Cancer Institute's
smokefree.gov Web site at
http://www.smokefree.gov. This Web site offers
science-driven tools, information, and support that
has helped smokers quit. You will find state and
national resources, free materials, and quitting
advice from the National Cancer Institute and its
- More and more workplaces have help for workers
who want to quit. Some offer quit-smoking clinics
and support on the job. Others will pay for outside
programs for their workers. Ask at work about the
choices open to you.
may know about a quit-smoking program or support
group near you.
You may want to try a quit-smoking program or
support group to help you quit. These programs can work
great if you're willing to commit to them.
How do quit-smoking programs and support groups work?
They help smokers spot and cope with problems they have
when trying to quit. The programs teach problem-solving
and other coping skills. A quit-smoking program can help
you quit for good by:
Steps to Take on Your Quit Day
- Helping you better understand why you smoke
- Teaching you how to handle withdrawal and stress
- Teaching you tips to help resist the urge to
Today's the day you start your smoke-free life!
Remind your family and friends that today is your
quit date. Ask them to support you during the first few
days and weeks. They can help you through the rough
Using Your Support Program
Using your support program
Stay away from what tempts you
If you decided to use a
support program, use it fully. Go to the sessions.
telephone quitline. Visit your Internet site. The
more support you get, the more likely you will quit for
Are you using
medicine to help you quit? If so, follow the
directions. If you don't, you're more likely to go back
to smoking. Also, don't rush to stop using the medicine.
Stick with it for at least 12 weeks. Or follow your
Stay Away from What Tempts You
- Keep very busy today.
- Go to a movie.
- Take long walks.
- Go bike riding.
- Spend as much free time as you can where smoking
isn't allowed. Some good places are malls,
libraries, museums, theaters, department stores, and
places of worship.
- Do you miss having a cigarette in your hand?
Hold something else. Try a pencil, a paper clip, a
marble, or a water bottle.
- Do you miss having something in your mouth? Try
toothpicks, cinnamon sticks, lollipops, hard candy,
sugarfree gum, or carrot sticks.
- Drink a lot of water and fruit juice. Avoid
drinks like wine and beer. They can trigger you to
Managing Cravings when you really crave a cigarette
- Instead of smoking after meals, get up from the
table. Brush your teeth or go for a walk.
- If you always smoke while driving, try something
new: Listen to a new radio station or your favorite
music. Take a different route. Or take the train or
bus for a while, if you can.
- Stay away from things that you connect with
smoking. Do it today and for the next few weeks.
These may include:
- Watching your favorite TV show
- Sitting in your favorite chair
- Having a drink before dinner
- Do things and go places where smoking is not
allowed. Keep this up until you're sure that you can
- Remember, most people don't smoke. Try to be
near non-smokers if you must be somewhere you'll be
tempted to smoke, for example at a party or in a
Remember: The urge to smoke will come and go.
Try to wait it out. Or look at the plan you made last
week. You wrote down steps to take at a time like this.
Try them! You can also try these tips:
- Keep other things around instead of cigarettes.
Try carrots, pickles, sunflower seeds, apples,
celery, raisins, or sugarfree gum.
- Wash your hands or the dishes when you want a
cigarette very badly. Or take a shower.
- Learn to relax quickly by taking deep breaths.
- Take 10 slow, deep breaths and hold the last
- Then breathe out slowly.
- Relax all of your muscles.
- Picture a soothing, pleasant scene.
- Just get away from it all for a moment.
- Think only about that peaceful image and
- Light incense or a candle instead of a
- Where you are and what is going on can make you
crave a cigarette. A change of scene can really
help. Go outside, or go to a different room. You can
also try changing what you are doing.
- No matter what, don't think, "Just one
won't hurt." It will hurt. It will undo
your work so far.
- Remember: Trying something to beat the
urge is always better than trying nothing.
Find New Things To Do
Starting today you may want to create some new
habits. Here are some things you might try:
- Swimming, jogging, playing tennis, bike riding,
or shooting baskets. It's hard to smoke and do these
things at the same time. How about walking your dog?
- Keep your hands busy. Do crossword puzzles or
needlework. Paint. Do woodworking, gardening, or
household chores. You can also write a letter or
paint your nails.
- Enjoy having a clean tasting mouth. Brush your
teeth often and use mouthwash.
- Take a stretch when you're tempted to reach for
Set aside time for the activities that satisfy you
and mean the most to you. There are natural breaks even
during a busy day. After dinner, first thing in the
morning, or just before bed are good examples. You'll
also need plenty of rest while you get used to your
Remember the Instant Rewards of
Your body begins to heal within 20 minutes after
your last cigarette. The poison gas and nicotine start
to leave your body. Your pulse rate goes back to normal.
The oxygen in your blood rises to a normal level.
Within a few days you may notice other things:
- Your senses of taste and smell are better.
- You can breathe easier.
- Your "smoker's hack" starts to go away. (You may
keep coughing for a while, though.)
The nicotine leaves your body within three days. Your
body starts to repair itself. At first, you may feel
worse instead of better.
Withdrawal feelings can be hard. But they are a sign
that your body is healing.
Finally...the Long-term Rewards of
Tobacco use in the United States causes more than
450,000 deaths each year. Of those deaths, 170,000 are
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
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.
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
- 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
- Feel good about all the time you went without
smoking. Try to learn how to make your coping skills
- 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.
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
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
Journal to see when you might be tempted. Then use
the skills you've learned to get through your urges
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
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:
* Prices are based on a 2001 average of $5.00 per
pack. The cost of a pack of cigarettes may differ,
depending on where you buy them.
Think about starting a "money jar" if you haven't
already. Put your cigarette money aside for each day you
don't smoke. Soon you'll have enough money to buy a
reward for yourself.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Reducing Tobacco Use: A Report of the Surgeon General. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, 2000, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Smoking and Tobacco Control Monograph 10: Health Effects of Exposure to
Environmental Tobacco Smoke. National Cancer Institute, August 1999, NRT Product User's
Guides. GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare,
Pittsburgh, PA, 2002, Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Ed.
(1994). American Psychiatric Association. Washington,
Last Editorial Review: 8/29/2005