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New Year’s Resolutions: Quit Smoking!

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Do you want to quit smoking in 2012? Are you tired of being addicted or of spending your spare cash on cigarettes? Perhaps you are worried about the effects of passive smoking for your relatives. Unfortunately cigarette smoking causes the deaths of 443,000 Americans every year, making it the biggest preventable cause of disease, disability and death in the United States.

About 49,000 of these deaths were people who were breathing in second-hand smoke. Smoking can also reduce your life by 13 to 14 years, on average, but it’s extremely addictive.

So, how do you quit?

1. Tell all your friends and family that you are quitting to get them on board. It will be easier for you if you have support from others. Remind them before you quit that you don’t want them to make jokes about it or smoke around you as you are serious about not smoking anymore.

2. Consider joining a support group to help you quit. If you find it hard to stay off the cigarettes on your own, a trained coach will help you and you can also meet others who are in the same situation as you. There are telephone helplines available if you are struggling out of hours.

3. If you want to have something in your hand, hold a pen or a stress ball. If you want to have something in your mouth, chew on gum or another food.

4. Don’t drink alcohol during the time you are trying to quit as this may make you want a cigarette.

5. Distract yourself. There are many public places where smoking is banned, such as shopping malls or the library. Spend as much time out as you can.

6. If you normally have a smoking routine and smoke at specific times, change your routine. For instance, you could listen to music instead of smoking, or even go and brush your teeth if you crave something in your mouth.

7. Socialize as much as you can with non-smoking friends. This should be easy as the majority of people don’t smoke.

8. If you normally smoke in the car (for example, if you have children at home) and you associate the car with smoking, you could take the bus or walk as a temporary measure until you no longer have any cravings.

9. If you feel you can’t quit without medical assistance, there are anti-smoking sweets, pills, nicotine patches or nasal sprays. Most of these contain nicotine to help lessen the feelings of addiction, but there is one type of pill that is called Bupropion SR and contains no nicotine. However, it isn’t suitable for pregnant women or people with eating or seizure disorders. Make sure you follow the instructions and complete the course or it may not work.

10. You may feel ill or tense when you first quit. This is normal and will pass in a few weeks. Lots of people give up trying after the first week when the withdrawal symptoms are at their worst, but if you keep going you will eventually find you have no desire for anymore cigarettes.


Smoking and Tobacco Use, Fast Facts, CDC. Web. 19 December 2011. http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts

Adult Smoking in the US, CDC. Web. 19 December 2011. http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/AdultSmoking

Quit Guide: Quitting, Smokefree.gov. Web. 19 December 2011. http://www.smokefree.gov/qg-quitting-quitday.aspx

Medicines that Help with Withdrawal, smokefree.gov. Web. 19 December 2011. http://www.smokefree.gov/qg-preparing-medicines.aspx

Joanna is a freelance health writer for The Mother magazine and Suite 101 with a column on infertility, http://infertility.suite101.com/. She is author of the book, 'Breast Milk: A Natural Immunisation,' and co-author of an educational resource on disabled parenting. Her father died of cancer caused by cigarette smoking. He never got to see any of his grandchildren.

Reviewed December 19, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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EmpowHER Guest

Thanks for helping smokers who want to quit this season! I work at Legacy, a national public health non-profit located in Washington, DC and wanted to share a resource that might be of interest to readers who are looking to quit this season and throughout the year. BecomeAnEX.org provides free evidence-based online tools and information to help smokers quit. The site is also a convening point for smokers who want to quit and collaborate on their successes and challenges in the difficult quit process.

December 20, 2011 - 7:58am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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