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How To Stop Smoking, Ambulatory Care

Why you should stop smoking:

You will improve your health and the health of others around you if you stop smoking. Your risk of heart and lung disease, cancer, stroke, heart attack, and vision problems will also decrease. You can benefit from quitting no matter how long you have smoked. Quitting may even prolong your life.

Prepare to stop smoking:

Nicotine is a highly addictive drug found in cigarettes. Withdrawal symptoms can happen when you stop smoking and make it hard to quit. These include anxiety, depression, irritability, trouble sleeping, and increased appetite. You increase your chances of success if you prepare to quit.

  • Set a quit date. This will help confirm your decision to stop smoking.
  • Tell friends and family that you plan to quit. Explain that you may have withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit. Ask them to support you. They may be able to encourage you and help reduce your stress to make it easier for you to quit.
  • Expect it to be hard to quit, but know you can do it. Smoking is a daily habit that becomes part of your life. Know the triggers that tempt you to smoke, so you can break this habit. Write down a list of these challenges and have a plan to avoid them.
  • Remove all tobacco and nicotine products from your home, car, and workplace. Also, remove anything else that will tempt you to smoke, such as lighters, matches, or ash trays.

Tools to help you stop smoking:

You may be able to quit on your own, or you may need to try one or more of the following:

  • Counseling from trained caregivers will help teach you skills to quit smoking. They will also teach you to manage your withdrawal symptoms and cravings. You may receive counseling from one counselor, in group therapy, or through phone therapy called a quit line.
  • Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges may help reduce your nicotine cravings and other withdrawal symptoms. You may get these without a doctor's order.
  • Prescription medicines such as nasal sprays or nicotine inhalers may help reduce your withdrawal symptoms. Other medicines may also be used to reduce your urge to smoke. Ask your primary healthcare provider about these medicines. You may need to start certain medicines 2 weeks before your quit date for them to work well.

Manage your cravings:

  • Avoid situations, people, and places that tempt you to smoke. Go to nonsmoking places, such as libraries or restaurants. Understand what tempts you and try to avoid these things.
  • Keep your hands busy. Hold things such as a stress ball or pen. Keep lollipops, gum, or toothpicks in your mouth to distract you from your cravings.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine. These drinks may tempt you to smoke. Drink healthy liquids such as water or juice instead.
  • Reward yourself when you resist your cravings. Rewards will motivate you and help you stay positive.

For more support and information:

  • Smokefree.gov
    Phone: 1- 800 - 784-8669
    Web Address: www.smokefree.gov

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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