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Tips to Help You Stop Smoking

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Cigarette smoking is a preventable cause of death in the United States. If you have thought about quitting but haven’t been able to, here are some reasons why you should and some ways to do it.

Here’s Why

Quitting smoking now can decrease your risk of getting smoking-related illnesses like:

Quitting smoking also has health benefits for your whole family! Exposing family members to second-hand smoke can increase their risk of many conditions and even premature death. By being a smoker, you may also increase the chances that your children will become smokers.

Here’s How

Once you’ve decided to quit smoking, set your “target quit date” a few weeks away. In the time leading up to your quit day, try some of these ideas offered by the Tobacco Control Research Branch of the National Cancer Institute to help you successfully quit smoking.

For the best results, work with your doctor. Together, you can test your lung function and compare the results to those of a nonsmoking person. The results can be given to you as your “lung age.” Finding out your “lung age” right after having the test done may help you to stop smoking.

Your doctor can also discuss with you all of your options and refer you to smoking-cessation support groups. You may wish to use nicotine replacement (gum, patches, inhaler) or one of the prescription medications that have been shown to increase quit rates and prolong abstinence from smoking. But whatever you and your doctor decide on these matters, it will still be you who decides when an how to quit. Here are some techniques:

Switch Brands

Cut Down the Number of Cigarettes You Smoke

Don't Smoke "Automatically"

Make Smoking Inconvenient

Make Smoking Unpleasant

Just Before Quitting

On the Day You Quit

Telephone and Internet Support

Telephone, web-, and computer-based programs can offer you the support that you need to quit and to stay smoke-free. You can find many programs online, like the American Lung Association's Freedom from Smoking.

Immediately After Quitting


National Cancer Institute

Tobacco Information and Prevention Source (TIPS)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

United States Department of Health and Human Services
1-800 Quit-Now


Canadian Cancer Society

The Lung Association


American Lung Association website. Available at: Accessed July 15, 2008.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Accessed July 15, 2008.

National Cancer Institute website. Available at: Accessed July 15, 2008.

Secondhand smoke. American Cancer Society website. Available at: Updated June 29, 2011. Accessed July 14, 2011.

3/25/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Parkes G, Greenhalgh T, Griffin M, Dent R. Effect on smoking quit rate of telling patients their lung age: the Step2quit randomised controlled trial.BMJ.2008;336:598-600.

7/6/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Myung SK, McDonnell DD, Kazinets G, Seo HG, Moskowitz JM. Effects of Web- and computer-based smoking cessation programs: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.Arch Intern Med.2009;169:929-937.

7/14/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Leonardi-Bee J, Jere ML, Britton J. Exposure to parental and sibling smoking and the risk of smoking uptake in childhood and adolescence: a systematic review and meta-analysis.Thorax.2011 Feb 15. [Epub ahead of print]