Skip to main content

En Español 

How to Stop Smoking


Why should I stop smoking? You will improve your health and the health of others around you if you stop smoking. Your risk of heart and lung disease, cancer, stroke, heart attack, and vision problems will also decrease. You can benefit from quitting no matter how long you have smoked. Quitting may even prolong your life.

How can I prepare to stop smoking? Nicotine is a highly addictive drug found in cigarettes. Withdrawal symptoms can happen when you stop smoking and make it hard to quit. These include anxiety, depression, irritability, trouble sleeping, and increased appetite. You increase your chances of success if you prepare to quit.

  • Set a quit date. This will help confirm your decision to stop smoking.

  • Tell friends and family that you plan to quit. Explain that you may have withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit. Ask them to support you. They may be able to encourage you and help reduce your stress to make it easier for you to quit.

  • Expect it to be hard to quit, but know you can do it. Smoking is a daily habit that becomes part of your life. Know the triggers that tempt you to smoke, so you can break this habit. Write down a list of these challenges and have a plan to avoid them.

  • Remove all tobacco and nicotine products from your home, car, and workplace. Also, remove anything else that will tempt you to smoke, such as lighters, matches, or ash trays.

What are some tools to help me stop smoking? You may be able to quit on your own, or you may need to try one or more of the following:

  • Counseling from a trained caregiver can provide you with support and skills to quit smoking. They will also teach you to manage your withdrawal symptoms and cravings. You may receive counseling from one counselor, in group therapy, or through phone therapy called a quit line.

  • Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges may help reduce your nicotine cravings and other withdrawal symptoms. You may get these without a doctor's order.

  • Prescription medicines such as nasal sprays or nicotine inhalers may help reduce your withdrawal symptoms. Other medicines may also be used to reduce your urge to smoke. Ask your caregiver about these medicines. You may need to start certain medicines 2 weeks before your quit date for them to work well.

How can I manage my cravings?

  • Avoid situations, people, and places that tempt you to smoke. Go to nonsmoking places, such as libraries or restaurants. Understand what tempts you and try to avoid these things.

  • Keep your hands busy. Hold things such as a stress ball or pen. Keep lollipops, gum, or toothpicks in your mouth to distract you from your cravings.

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine. These drinks may tempt you to smoke. Drink healthy liquids such as water or juice instead.

  • Reward yourself when you resist your cravings. Rewards will motivate you and help you stay positive.

What should I know about weight gain after I quit? You may gain a few pounds after you quit smoking. Remember that quitting helps decrease your risk for serious health problems caused by smoking. The following can help you avoid weight gain:

  • Eat healthy foods. These include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Eat healthy snacks, such as low-fat yogurt, if you get hungry between meals. Chew sugarless gum. Ask if you need to be on a special diet.

  • Drink water before, during, and between meals. This will make your stomach feel full and help prevent you from overeating. Ask your caregiver how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.

  • Exercise. Take a walk or do some kind of exercise every day. Ask your caregiver what exercise is right for you. This may help reduce your cravings and reduce stress.

Where can I find support and more information?

    Phone: 1- 800 - 784-8669
    Web Address:


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

References and sources