Top Tips for Quitting Smoking
Are you ready to quit? Here are our top tips to help you on the path to success:
- Focus on your motivators. Motivation waxes and wanes and this is 100 percent normal—what can you do to increase your motivation when you feel defeated or low?
- Build confidence. Confidence that your attempt will be successful is important! What can you do to increase your confidence levels? Your confidence can increase when you make and achieve a series of small goals, when you visualize your success and when you feel like you have the tools ready for any situation.
- Stress management is key. Many smokers smoke to manage stress, distress, and negative emotions. Being prepared with other ways to manage these feelings can be difficult and takes a lot of practice. What do your non-smoking friends do to manage stress?
- It's never too late to quit. While it's best to quit smoking as early as possible, quitting smoking at any age will enhance the length and quality of your life. You'll also save money and avoid the hassle of going outside in the cold to smoke. You can even inspire those around you to quit smoking!
- Learn from past experiences. Most people who smoke have tried to quit before and sometimes they get discouraged thinking about previous attempts. But these experiences tell us a lot about what to do and what not to do next time! These experiences are steps on the road to future success. Think about what worked for you last time, what didn't work and what you might do differently this time.
- You don't have to quit alone. Telling friends and family that you're trying to quit and enlisting their support will help ease the process. Expert help is available from the American Lung Association and other groups. Friends who also smoke may even join you in trying to quit!
- Medications are safe and effective and will help you quit and stay quit when used properly. The seven FDA-approved medications include nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, inhaler, and nasal spray as well as varenicline (Chantix) and bupropion (Zyban). Ask your healthcare provider for recommendations. The medications help with withdrawal symptoms, urges and cravings, but do not help with the habit or with managing stress or negative emotions. Many people don't use the medications correctly or don't use them long enough or expect the medication to replace all that smoking used to do for us. Be sure to follow the directions and combine medications with other tools for quitting.
- Every smoker can quit. At the American Lung Association, we firmly believe that every smoker can quit. Everyone is different and each quit attempt is a little different. Find the right combination of tools, medications, and support for you! And above all, keep trying.
For anyone who is ready to try quitting for the first time, tried before and is ready to try again, or is ready to help someone else quit, the American Lung Association has the tools and tips you need. Our Freedom From Smoking® program is available through an in-person group clinic or online through our new Freedom From Smoking Plus. Additionally, our Lung HelpLine is staffed with smoking cessation experts who can get you started on a quit plan, answer your questions and help you on the path to becoming tobacco-free. Calls are toll-free at 1-800-LUNGUSA.
"Freedom From Smoking helped me quit because I felt I had the encouragement and support of a whole movement behind me, a movement that had really thought about the best way to reach out and break the hold cigarettes had on me," said Steve Ginther of New York City. "Step-by-step and day by day, the program was easy to follow and I was able to go at my own pace. The relaxation exercises and the personal dedication of the staff to my quitting made me what I am today, smokefree!"
Quitting isn't easy but more than 50 million ex-smokers in the United States are proof that it's possible.
Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed February 25, 2019.
Page Last Updated: July 12, 2019
Sign up for the latest lung health news sent right to your inbox.
Join more than 500,000 people who receive research updates, inspiring stories, health information and more.