Millions of Americans resolve to quit smoking each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 70% of American smokers want to quit. So why do so many people still smoke? Nicotine is a psychoactive drug present in tobacco that results in chemical dependence in most smokers, making it hard to quit. Smokers are addicted to nicotine. And smoking is an addiction that kills. CDC estimates that 443,000 U.S. deaths each year are caused by cigarette smoking.
So how do you quit and stay quit? The CDC offers these key tips:
1) Write down why you want to quit.
2) Get help. Nicotine substitution products and non-nicotine cessation medications can make quitting easier. Call 800-QUIT-NOW (Spanish: 855-335-3569) for free resources. Visit CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers. Your doctor or other health care provider is also a good source for help.
3) Set a quit date, and make a plan for how what you are going to do instead of smoking.
4) Be persistent. Quitting may require multiple attempts. Remember that more than half of all adult smokers in the U.S. have already quit.
Finally, remember that most people who succeed in staying off cigarettes quit cold turkey. If you make a plan, set a date, and prepare to quit for good, you can do it. It’s not easy, but if you want to quit badly enough you can kick the habit.
For more information see:
(1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Quitting Smoking Among Adults—United States, 2001–2010. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2011;60(44):1513–19
(2) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2010
(3) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Quitting Smoking Among Adults—United States, 2001–2010. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report [serial online] 2011;60(44):1513–9