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Quit Smoking FAQ

What’s in the Cigarette I Smoke?
Your body gets more than nicotine when you smoke a cigarette. There are more than 4,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke. Some of them are also in wood varnish, the insect poison DDT, arsenic, nail polish remover, and rat poison. The ashes, tar, gases, and other poisons in cigarettes harm your body over time. They damage your heart and lungs. They also make it harder for you to taste and smell things and fight infections.

Why Should I Quit Smoking Cigarettes?
You should quit smoking cigarettes so you may feel better and live longer. Quitting will lower your chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or some types of cancer. The people you live with, especially children, will be healthier is you quit smoking. If you are pregnant, you will improve your chances of having a healthy baby. And you will have extra money to spend on things other than cigarettes.

Why is Quitting Smoking so Hard?
Many ex-smokers say quitting was the hardest thing they ever did. Do you feel hooked on cigarettes? You’re probably addicted to nicotine. Nicotine is in all tobacco products. It temporarily makes you feel calm and satisfied. At the same time, you feel more alert and focused. The more you smoke the more nicotine you need to feel good. Soon, you don’t feel “normal” without nicotine. It takes time to break free from nicotine addiction. It may take more than one try to quit for good. So don’t give up too soon. You will feel good again. Quitting is also hard because smoking is a big part of your life. You enjoy holding cigarettes and puffing on them. You may smoke when you are stressed, bored, or angry. After months and years of lighting up, smoking becomes part of your daily routine. You may light up without even thinking about it. Smoking goes with other things, too. You may light up when you feel a certain way or do certain things. For example:

  • Drinking coffee, wine, or beer
  • Talking on the phone
  • Driving
  • Being with other smokers

You may even feel uncomfortable not smoking at times or in places where you usually have a cigarette. These times and places are called “triggers.” That’s because they trigger, or turn on, cigarette cravings. Breaking these habits is the hardest part of quitting for some smokers.

Quitting isn’t easy. It may take several tries. But you learn something each time you try. It takes willpower and strength to beat your addiction to nicotine. Remember that millions of people have quit smoking for good. You can be one of them!

What are the Health Consequences of Smoking Cigarettes?
Smoking cigarettes harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and reducing the health of smokers in general. The list of diseases caused by smoking has been expanded to include abdominal aortic aneurysm, acute myeloid leukemia, cataracts, cervical cancer, kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, pneumonia, periodontitis, and stomach cancer. These are in addition to diseases previously known to be caused by smoking, including bladder, esophageal, laryngeal, lung, oral, and throat cancers, chronic lung diseases, coronary heart and cardiovascular diseases, as well as reproductive effects and sudden infant death syndrome.

What is First thing I need to do once I’ve decided to Quit Smoking?
You should set a quit date — the day when you will quit smoking and break free of your tobacco addiction. Then, consider visiting your doctor or other health care provider before the quit date. She or he can help by providing practical advice and recommending any tobacco replacement or medication that may work best for you.

How will I feel when I Quit Smoking? Will I Gain Weight?
Many smokers gain weight when they quit, but it is usually less than 10 pounds. Eat a healthy diet, stay active, and try not to let weight gain distract you from your main goal — quitting smoking. Some of the medications to help you quit smoking may help delay weight gain.

What should I Do If I need more help to Quit Smoking?
Get individual, group, or telephone counseling to help you quit smoking. The more counseling you get, the better your chances are of quitting for good. Programs are given at local hospitals and health centers. Call your local health department for information about programs in your area. Also, talk with your doctor or other health care provider.

What about e-cigarettes?
There is not enough research to show that e-cigarettes can help you quit smoking. The long-term health impact of using them is not yet known. And, they are not regulated by the FDA at this time. While likely less toxic than cigarette smoking, e-cigarette vapor still may contain low levels of toxic chemicals, nicotine and metals. You should first try to quit smoking using the strategies and medicines for smoking cessation. If repeated efforts with these treatments do not work for you, you may talk to your healthcare provider about e-cigarettes as a possible alternative to smoking. If you do switch from a traditional cigarette to an e-cigarette, it should not be a long-term solution. You should still work to identify and commit to a specific “quit date” for both traditional and e-cigarettes.