Smoking and How to Quit Smoking

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

View How Smoking Affects Your Looks and Life Slideshow Pictures

Quick GuideHow to Quit Smoking: 13 Tips to End Addiction

How to Quit Smoking: 13 Tips to End Addiction

What are the steps in quitting?

First, one can do certain things to get ready to quit. Then, there are other things to do on the day of quitting. Finally, one can do things to help oneself to remain abstinent. (This is the hardest part.)

Getting ready to quit smoking

  • Set a date for quitting. If possible, plan to have a friend quit smoking with you. It's best to pick a day within the next month. A date too far off in the future will give you a chance to procrastinate and postpone, while a date too soon may not allow you to make a plan for medications or support systems.
  • Notice when and why you smoke. Try to find the things in your daily life that you often do while smoking (such as drinking your morning cup of coffee or driving a car).
  • Change your smoking routines: Keep your cigarettes in a different place. Smoke with your other hand. Don't do anything else when you are smoking. Think about how you feel when you smoke.
  • Smoke only in certain places, such as outdoors.
  • When you want a cigarette, wait a few minutes. Try to think of something to do instead of smoking. For example, you might chew gum or drink a glass of water.
  • Buy one pack of cigarettes at a time. Switch to a brand of cigarettes that you don't like.

On the day you quit smoking

  • Get rid of all your cigarettes. Put away your ashtrays.
  • Change your morning routine. When you eat breakfast, don't sit in the same place at the kitchen table. Stay busy.
  • When you get the urge to smoke, do something else instead.
  • Carry other things to put in your mouth, such as gum, hard candy, or a toothpick.
  • Reward yourself at the end of the day for not smoking. See a movie or go out and enjoy your favorite meal.
  • Tell your friends and family members about your decision to quit smoking, and ask for their support.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/30/2015

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