Stop smoking support programs
It is hard to quit smoking if you are acting alone. Smokers usually have a much better chance of quitting with a support program. Stop smoking programs are offered by hospitals, health departments, community centers, work sites, and national organizations.
Smoking tips to quit - Animation
You probably know by now that smoking damages your lungs, raising your risk for bronchitis, emphysema, and lung cancer. And, you're probably well aware that lighting up also puts you at risk for many different types of cancers, as well as eye disease like cataracts and premature wrinkles, you know why you shouldn't smoke, it's just the quitting part you can't seem to get past. Let's talk about some helpful tips to help you quit smoking, for good this time. It's a familiar story, one that plays out over and over again among smokers. You vow to quit, and you have every intention of doing it, and then the cravings hit. And you can't think about anything but having a cigarette. You get irritable, and you start putting on weight. You think, Just one cigarette wouldn't hurt, would it? And then, before you know it, you're smoking again. Most smokers have tried to quit, and failed, several times. Even if you've failed before, you can still succeed at quitting. Many people have. You just need to find the technique that works for you. So, here are a few tips that can help. First, set a quit date. Write it down on your calendar and tell a few friends, so you'll be too embarrassed to back out. Before your quit date, throw out every cigarette in your house, car, and office. Also toss every ashtray, lighter, and anything else you need to smoke. Wash your clothes and clean your furniture so you won't have that smoky smell hanging around your house. Next, call your doctor. Ask about smoking cessation programs in your area. Also learn about tools that can help you quit, like medicines that reduce the urge to smoke, and nicotine replacement gums, lozenges, patches, and sprays. And then, plan what you'll do instead of smoking. If you smoke with your morning cup of coffee, drink tea or go for a walk instead. If you need a cigarette to keep your mouth busy, try chewing sugarless gum or nibble on a carrot stick. Stick to places where smoking isn't allowed, like smoke-free restaurants. And finally, reward yourself for not smoking. Put all that money that you would have spent on cigarettes into a jar. And once you've collected enough money, use it to take a trip or buy something you've wanted for a long time. Don't get discouraged. Quitting smoking isn't easy. If it were, everyone would have done it by now. Be persistent, reward yourself for the progress you've made, and keep at it until you finally conquer the urge to smoke.
You can find out about smoking cessation programs from:
- Your doctor or local hospital
- Your health insurance plan
- Your employer
- Your local health department
- The National Cancer Institute Quitline at 877-448-7848
- The American Cancer Society Quitline at 800-227-2345
- The American Lung Association www.lung.org/quit-smoking/join-freedom-from-smoking, which has online and phone advice programs
- State programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
The best smoking cessation programs combine numerous approaches and target the fears and problems you have when quitting. They also provide ongoing support for staying away from tobacco.
Be wary of programs that:
- Are short and offer no help over time
- Charge a high fee
- Offer supplements or pills that are only available through the program
- Promise an easy path to quitting
Telephone-based services can help you design a stop smoking program that meets your needs. These services are easy to use. The counselors can help you avoid common mistakes. This kind of support can be as effective as face-to-face counseling.
Telephone programs are often available on nights and weekends. Trained counselors will help you set up a support network for quitting and help you decide which stop smoking aids to use. Choices may include:
- Nicotine replacement therapy
- Support programs or classes
Let your friends, family, and coworkers know of your plans to stop smoking and your quit date. It helps for people around you to be aware of what you are going through, especially when you are grumpy.
You may also want to seek out other types of support, such as:
- Your family doctor or nurse.
- Groups of ex-smokers.
- Nicotine Anonymous (www.nicotine-anonymous.org). This organization uses a similar approach as Alcoholics Anonymous. As part of this group, you will be asked to admit that you are powerless over your addiction to nicotine. Also, a sponsor is often available to help you get through urges to smoke.
SMOKING PROGRAMS AND CLASSES
Stop smoking programs can also help you find a quitting method that suits your needs. They will help you be aware of problems that come up while you're trying to quit and offer tools to cope with these problems. These programs can help you avoid making common mistakes.
Programs may either have one-on-one sessions or group counseling. Some programs offer both. Programs should be run by counselors who are trained to help people quit smoking.
Programs that provide more sessions or longer sessions have a better chance of success. The American Cancer Society recommends programs with the following features:
- Each session lasts at least 15 to 30 minutes.
- There are at least 4 sessions.
- The program lasts at least 2 weeks, although longer is usually better.
- The leader is trained in smoking cessation.
Internet-based programs are also becoming more available. These services send you personalized reminders using e-mail, texting, or other methods.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
American Cancer Society website. How to quit using tobacco. www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/guide-quitting-smoking.html. Accessed June 7, 2021.
George TP. Nicotine and tobacco. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 29.
Smokefree.gov website. Quit smoking. smokefree.gov/quit-smoking. Accessed June 7, 2021.
US Preventive Services Task Force. Tobacco smoking cessation in adults, including pregnant persons: interventions. US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendation/tobacco-use-in-adults-and-pregnant-women-counseling-and-interventions. Updated January 19, 2021. Accessed June 7, 2021.