How to Quit Smoking

Freedom From Smoking Series

For information on smoking cessation classes, call (818) 409-8042.

You Can Break the Smoking Habit

If you've decided to stop smoking, congratulations are in order. You are on your way to joining millions of others who have quit the smoking habit. If they can do it, so can you!

There are two important steps to making yourself smoke-free. You have to first break your dependence on nicotine, a highly addictive drug. Your next key step is to stop the smoking habit.

Don't be too hard on yourself if you have been unsuccessful at quitting in the past. The average person makes two to four attempts at quitting before he or she is able to remain smoke-free. The key is to not give up.

Smoking: A Risky Habit

A great way to help yourself quit smoking is to look at the grim facts about the habit. The American Lung Association reports that smoking is responsible for one in five deaths in the United States. Recent research indicates that women are increasingly at risk for lung cancer. As a smoker, women and men are at high risk for:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Emphysema
  • High blood pressure
  • Decreased blood flow
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Sexual dysfunction (in men)
  • Causing illness and death in their children and loved ones from second-hand smoke
  • More medical expenses to treat these diseases
  • Other financial costs, including cleaning bills and the replacement costs for clothing and furniture, as well as higher premiums on health, life and auto insurance

Getting Started

If you're ready to start down the path of smoke-free living, here is a list of reasons to quit smoking to help you along your way:

  • To get rid of my smoker's cough and bad breath
  • To lower my risk of lung cancer and other lung diseases
  • To have more energy and stamina for physical activities
  • To increase my immunity against flu, colds and related health problems
  • To rid the smell of smoke from my clothes and body
  • To have a healthier heart and blood vessels
  • To set an example for my children and/or others
  • To protect the health of my baby during pregnancy
  • To lessen the wrinkly appearance of my skin
  • To improve my sense of taste and smell
  • To save money by not buying cigarettes and qualifying for lower insurance premiums

Prepare for "Quit Day"

Set a date within the next two weeks to quit. Write "Quit Day" in big letters on this date in your calendar. Start preparing for "Quit Day" as one of the most important days in your life.

Let family members and/or friends know when your "Quit Day" is so they can be prepared to support you. Ask those who smoke not to do so around you.

Identify potential obstacles to your success in quitting, such as a co-worker who encourages you to smoke or an upcoming stressful event that might set you back. Make a plan now to deal with these obstacles when they arise.

  • Practice going without a cigarette for several hours at a time.
  • Get your teeth cleaned, and wash or dry-clean all your clothes.
  • Prepare a "survival kit" with sugarless gum, healthy snacks and something to keep your hands and mind occupied when the nicotine urge hits.
  • Begin keeping a log of when and why you smoke.
  • The night before "Quit Day", throw away ALL of your cigarettes, lighters, matches, ash trays and anything else that you associate with smoking.

Look into various self-help programs, such as those at Adventist Health Glendale. You may want to talk with your doctor to plan a quitting strategy, which may include classes, medications and/or other measures.

Tips for Quitting

  • Be aware that low tar/nicotine cigarettes, smokeless (chewing) tobacco, pipes and cigars are also unsafe and are not good alternatives to a cigarette.
  • If you feel anxious or irritable, try relaxing with a massage, a warm bath, soothing music and/or meditation.
  • Be aware that, at times, you may also feel sleepy and/or lightheaded, or you may crave sweets. Each person reacts differently to quitting.
  • Exercise and other physical activity can distract you from your urge to smoke, relieve some symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and help you avoid the weight gain that sometimes results when quitting smoking.
  • Be sure to eat a balanced diet, drink lots of water and get good sleep. Snack on sugarless gum and mints, fruit, raw vegetables, plain popcorn and other healthy snacks to reduce your chances of gaining weight.
  • Don't beat yourself up if you have a setback and smoke a cigarette. Instead, stop smoking immediately and get rid of any other cigarettes you have. Then try to figure out what caused you to smoke and how you can avoid that situation in the future.
  • Reward your decision. Celebrate "Quit Day" by buying yourself a new book or a new piece of clothing (that will remain smoke-free!), or go to a movie or out for dinner. Look forward to monthly and yearly anniversaries, when you can continue to celebrate.

Click here to download our Health Connections brochure entitled, "You Can Break the Smoking Habit".

For our Spanish version click here. For our Armenian version click here.