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For 2012, Resolve to Quit Smoking

< Dec. 28, 2011 > -- What's your New Year's resolution? If you smoke, chances are, you've vowed to quit - again.

Photo of woman breaking cigarette in half

Even if you've been unsuccessful at quitting in the past, don't give up. Six in 10 smokers try several times before they are able to quit smoking for good.

"Quitting smoking is the single most important step smokers can take to improve their health," says Norman Edelman, M.D., at the American Lung Association (ALA). "The start of a fresh New Year is a great time for smokers to implement their plan to quit smoking and reap the health and financial benefits of a smoke-free lifestyle."

Mark the day

This time around, to help ensure your success, get ready for the big day by planning ahead. You don't have to quit on January 1, but it helps to set a specific quit date. Choose a day when you won't be under a lot of stress, the ALA says. Once you pick a date, mark it on your calendar.

Talk with your doctor about the various types of over-the-counter and prescription medications available to help people quit smoking. Support groups and quit-smoking classes can also help, especially when used along with nicotine-replacement therapy or quit-smoking medication.

Set up an exercise routine so you work out every day. This will help improve your energy levels and mood, as well as help prevent weight gain, the ALA says. Walking is an ideal way to reduce the stress of quitting. You also need to eat a balanced diet, drink lots of water, and get plenty of sleep.

Ask for support from family, friends, and co-workers. Tell them your plans so they can get behind your effort and offer encouragement.

Choose alternatives

Once the big day arrives, make sure you've thought of what to do instead of smoking. For example, whenever you want a cigarette, try the four D's:

  • Delay. The urge to smoke will pass whether you light up or not.

  • Deep breathe.

  • Drink water.

  • Do something to take your mind off smoking.

For more information on health and wellness, please visit health information modules on this Web site.

Help for Your Smoking Habit

Quitting smoking isn't easy, but it can be done. For most people, the best way to quit is some combination of medicine, a method to change personal habits, and emotional support. Here is a look at some of the main quit-smoking aids:

  • Nicotine patch. These patches provide a measured dose of nicotine through the skin. As the nicotine doses are lowered by switching patches over a course of weeks, you are weaned off nicotine.

  • Nicotine gum. Nicotine gum is a fast-acting form of replacement. You alternate chewing the gum and placing it against your cheek for 20 to 30 minutes each dose.

  • Nicotine nasal spray. This prescription nasal spray delivers nicotine quickly to the bloodstream, relieving withdrawal symptoms and offering a sense of control over nicotine cravings.

  • Nicotine inhaler. The prescription nicotine inhaler is a plastic tube with a nicotine cartridge inside. When you puff on the inhaler, the cartridge provides a nicotine vapor. A nicotine inhaler is the closest thing to smoking a cigarette.

  • Nicotine lozenge. Nicotine lozenges are available in two strengths, 2 mg and 4 mg. Smokers determine which dose to take based on how long after waking up they normally have their first cigarette.

  • Zyban. This prescription antidepressant comes in an extended-release form that reduces symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. It can be used alone or together with nicotine replacement.

  • Chantix. This prescription medication works by blocking nicotine's effect on the brain. It comes in tablet form and is used in conjunction with counseling. Side effects include changes in behavior, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal ideation, and actual suicidal behavior.

Always talk with your health care provider to find out more information.

Online Resources

(Our Organization is not responsible for the content of Internet sites.)

American Cancer Society - Guide to Quitting Smoking

American Lung Association - How to Quit Smoking

Smokefree.gov - Quit Guide