By Mayo Clinic Staff

Quit-smoking basics

Tobacco is a killer. People who smoke or use other forms of tobacco are more likely to develop disease and die earlier than are people who don't use tobacco.

If you smoke, you may worry about what it's doing to your health. You probably worry, too, about how hard it might be to stop smoking. Nicotine is highly addictive. To quit smoking — especially without help — can be difficult. In fact, most people don't succeed the first time they try to quit. It may take more than one try. But you can stop smoking.

Take that first step: Decide to stop smoking. Set a quit date. And then take advantage of all the resources available to help you successfully quit smoking.

Quit-smoking action plan

Now that you've decided to stop smoking, it's time to map out your quit-smoking action plan. One of the first steps of your plan should be "Get support."

Support can come from:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • A health care provider
  • A counselor
  • A support group
  • A telephone quit line
  • Web-based support
  • Text messaging programs
  • Using one or more of the quit smoking (smoking cessation) drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Another key step in your quit-smoking action plan? Planning for challenges. For example, make a list of high-risk places you'll want to avoid when you start your quit-smoking plan. Think of other places to go where smoking isn't allowed, such as a shopping mall, a museum or movie theater.

Living smoke-free

What does living smoke-free mean? Living smoke-free is your opportunity to live a healthier and probably longer life. Living smoke-free can also mean a better quality of life — with more energy and a better ability to appreciate tastes and smells.

But living smoke-free doesn't mean living stress-free. In fact, smokers often cite stress as a reason for relapsing.

Instead of using nicotine to help cope with stress, you'll need to learn new ways to cope. Be proactive. For example, get physically active and practice relaxation exercises such as deep breathing or meditation. You can find out more about stress management tools online or at the library. For more help, talk with your health care provider or a mental health provider.

Nov. 15, 2022