Stop making excuses and start the process of quitting by following these tips. Most smokers and dippers want to quit, but they put it off for numerous reasons.

“I just can’t stop.”

You may know a few people who have quit cold turkey, but this is one of the hardest ways to do it. We provide the resources to help phase out your addiction to tobacco. You can ask your doctor about prescription drugs or try over-the-counter quitting aids like patches, nicotine gum, or lozenges. Find a friend to quit with, and try setting a quit date and really sticking to it.

“I only smoke when I drink.”

Tobacco smoke can contain more than 7,000 chemicals. One of those chemicals, nicotine, makes smoking incredibly addictive — just as addictive as cocaine or heroin. Occasional smokers tend to become “full-time” tobacco users, so it’s better to quit now, before you build an even stronger dependency.

“My dad is 74 and used tobacco all his life. Nothing has happened to him.”

While cases like this may exist, the statistics clearly show that using tobacco greatly increases your risk for many diseases. Even if a smoker or tobacco user has not contracted a fatal disease, their body still experiences the negative effects of tobacco. Smoking will discolor your teeth, give you bad breath, interfere with your physical abilities, and possibly keep others from wanting to be around you.

In the long term, tobacco use can cause premature wrinkling, mouth cancer, lung cancer, emphysema, and heart disease. It could also leave you dependent on an oxygen tank or speaking through an electronic voic box for the rest of your life.

“I’ve been using tobacco for so long, quitting won’t even help me.”

Your body will benefit almost immediately once you stop smoking or chewing tobacco, regardless of how long you have been using it. Within just 20 minutes, your blood pressure and heart rate will drop to normal. After eight hours, levels of poisonous carbon monoxide will decrease while oxygen increases. In just one day, your chances of having a heart attack will decrease.

During the first week after quitting, your nerve endings will start to re-grow, your sense of taste and smell will improve, and your lung capacity will increase, allowing you to breathe deeper and easier. In the first year, you will cough much less, have more energy and experience fewer sinus problems. After five years as a nonsmoker, your risk of lung cancer will be cut in half, and your risk level for stroke will return to that of a person who has never used tobacco.

“I tried quitting, and I couldn’t do it.”

Quitting is not easy. Most people try several times before they are successful. Think of past attempts as practice and keep working toward your goal. You wouldn’t go to the championship game or dance with a star on TV without practice, would you? A support system of friends and family can keep you motivated and help you deal with cravings. Remember, calling the Quitline or using the Web-based program are easy ways to get the support you need any time you want it.

“Smoking helps me de-stress.”

Tobacco doesn’t actually help calm nerves. When you feel a sense of relief after a cigarette, it’s just because you’ve satisfied your nicotine craving. Quitting smoking removes the tension of being addicted to a substance, and can actually help improve your mood and reduce anxiety. There are other good, healthy ways to cope with stress. Try going for a walk, taking a quick shower or bath, or even taking a quiet minute to drink a glass of water.

“Smoking helps me stay focused and keeps my energy up.”

The initial effects of smoking can seem positive for some people. However, the more you smoke, the more these effects diminish. After a while, you simply become addicted to nicotine, and your body needs it to maintain average levels of focus and energy. To find that same level of focus and energy in a natural and healthy way, try adding regular physical activity to your day, and eating a healthy diet.

“I can quit whenever I want to.”

Many smokers feel that smoking is their personal choice, and that they have control over whether they do it or not. Unfortunately, even casual or occasional smoking can lead to nicotine dependence, so it’s better to quit while you’re ahead. Ask yourself what’s holding you back from quitting. Most likely, there’s no good reason to avoid quitting. And you’re right: It is your choice! You can help yourself quit smoking by talking with a quit coach today.

last updated March 29, 2022