If your New Year's resolution is to quit smoking, you're in good company. It's a popular goal and many, many people succeed. There are more former smokers in the United States—nearly 50 million—than current smokers. Planning ahead can help make your healthy resolution a reality. Two good resources to help you quit are www.smokefree.gov and 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), where you can get free advice and support.
For inspiration, look to successful quitters. Beatrice, a busy mother of two boys, shared her quit story in CDC's Tips From Former Smokers campaign. Smoking seemed cool at age 13, when she started smoking regularly. By her 30s, Beatrice's family begged her to quit.
Beatrice: "I Told Everyone I Stopped Smoking"
Beatrice describes some of the techniques she used to recognize and avoid her smoking triggers that helped her to quit smoking. Even though it was hard to do, by making a plan and sticking to it, she beat her addiction to cigarettes and stopped smoking for good.
Knowing the facts about smoking can make you more determined to stop smoking this year.
People who stop smoking can greatly reduce their risk for disease and early death. The younger you are when you quit, the better your chances of avoiding health problems.
Most cases of the serious lung disease called COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) are caused by smoking. COPD makes it harder and harder to breathe. The disease can make people too sick to work and lead to an early death. When you quit smoking, you can:
Michael: “I Live in Constant Fear”
Michael, an Alaska Native, was shocked when doctors found serious lung damage from smoking. He was only 44. In this video, Michael talks about living in constant fear. Smoking gave him COPD, a disease that makes it harder and harder to breathe. He says, "If I get the flu, I can die."
Michael is an Alaska Native who lives with severe COPD from smoking. He learned the hard way that COPD can disable smokers in the prime of life. Michael shares his story in CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers campaign—and hopes that his suffering will encourage smokers to quit.
When you quit smoking, you also help protect your children, family, and friends from exposure to secondhand smoke. It can cause immediate harm to those who breathe it.
Quitting smoking can be challenging. Most people make multiple attempts. That's because nicotine is a very addictive drug. But don't give up trying just because you haven't succeeded in the past.
Think about your past attempts to quit—what worked and what didn't. If one method didn't work, don't hesitate to try another method. You can learn something new every time you try. This time might be time you quit for good!
Many effective quit methods are available. The science-based strategies listed below have worked for many people:
Consider signing up for individual, group, or telephone counseling. Counseling doubles your chances for success. Counseling can help you identify and overcome situations that trigger the urge to smoke. Free programs are available at local hospitals and health centers. Call your local health department for information about programs in your area. Telephone counseling is also available free of charge across the United States at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
Quit counseling can be combined with over-the-counter or prescription medications. This combination works better than either method alone.
Regardless of how you decide to quit—whether you use medicines, counseling, or simply stop smoking on your own—it's most important to commit to quit, make a plan, and stick with it.