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Quitting Smoking – Where do I even start?

So, you’re stuck in a rut and want to quit smoking, but don’t know where to start. You’re not alone! According to data from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), most adult cigarette smokers want to quit smoking. Many adult cigarette smokers even go as far as attempting to quit, but unfortunately, the quitting success rate is quite low. The CDC reports that in 2018 only 7.5% of adult smokers were able to quit. This is not to be discouraging, but to let you know that you’re not the only one struggling to quit. It’s hard to quit smoking. Sometimes it takes more than one try and that is okay. Keep reading for some advice on how to succeed in your quitting journey.

Think of all the reasons you want to quit. Is it for your children or family? Maybe you want to quit for yourself and your health. With the cost of living going up, is cigarette smoking becoming an expense you don’t want in your life anymore? Quitting smoking will only happen on your timeframe, so the reasons you want to quit must be your reasons for quitting. In case you’re not aware of some of the health benefits of quitting, I’ll discuss a few here. Most people know that quitting smoking can help you live longer, feel better, and reduce your risk of health problems like heart disease, cancer, lung disease, bone disease, and infections to name a few. Quitting can also help your skin look younger and reduce the chances of having problems with sex. No matter how long you’ve been smoking or the age you quit, you will always benefit and improve your health from quitting smoking.

Also read our blog about simple steps to improve your heart health.

You’ve found your reasons to quit, and you’re ready to start. To improve your chances of success, take a few steps back for a moment and prepare yourself for quitting. Choose a specific date you’re going to quit smoking. On the date you set, be ready to throw away all your cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays. Before your quit date, get prepared. Plan to get rid of any temptations that might lead you back to smoking. If you have a jacket that you always wear outside when you smoke, clean it or get rid of it so it doesn’t smell like smoke, for example. If you always smoke in your car, clean out the car and start fresh. Another example might be if you have a set up in your garage where you typically go to smoke, take it down and start fresh on your quit date. Don’t forget to tell your family and friends that you are going to try to quit smoking. Having a support system and accountability is also very important.

Prepare yourself by looking into some resources that can help you through the journey. Some examples include text messaging programs (, websites, smartphone apps, and quit line phone numbers (1-800-QUIT-NOW, or 1-800-784-8669). Having resources at your disposal can help you personalize your goals and help keep you motivated. Visit and select “I want to quit” and “make a plan”, this website can help walk you through some of what we’ve discussed. Something important this website can help with is reviewing what triggers you to smoke. It can help you determine if your triggers are emotional, habitual, or social for example. Once you know what triggers you to smoke, you can set forth some plans to help combat these triggers while you try to quit. The site also walks you through how to deal with cravings and setting yourself up for success. After you’ve gone through all the questions, will provide you with a personalized quit plan.

You may go through withdrawal when you stop smoking. Withdrawal symptoms might include trouble sleeping, anxiousness, restlessness, or irritability. These symptoms can be difficult to manage but working with a healthcare provider can help. Using nicotine replacement patches, gum, or lozenges can help with the withdrawal symptoms and make the transition off nicotine easier. Using both the patch daily and either nicotine gum or lozenges when cravings hit has a higher success rate than any option by itself. There are also other medications that a healthcare provider can prescribe to quit smoking.

Quitting smoking is very difficult and the fact that you’re even considering it is commendable! Congratulations! Know that you may relapse or go through difficult situations, but by trying at all you’re heading in the right direction. Try to stay encouraged and motivated. Remember your reasons for quitting. There are plenty of resources available to help you and there is no better time than now to start on your journey of quitting smoking. You can do it!

3) 1-800-QUIT-NOW, or 1-800-784-866

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Dr. Andrea M. Jones

Dr. Andrea M. Jones is a clinical pharmacist specializing in transitions of care to facilitate a smooth transition for patients between the hospital and outpatient settings. Dr. Jones graduated from the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy and completed post-graduate year 1 residency at the Southern Arizona VA Healthcare System in Tucson, Arizona. Dr. Jones also worked in retail/community pharmacies for over 5 years during undergraduate studies at the University of Kentucky and pharmacy school at the University of Colorado.




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