If you smoke, quitting smoking is the most important step you can take to protect your lungs. It is NEVER too late to quit. Your doctor can help you decide which smoking cessation method will work best for you.
Why should I quit?
You’ve probably heard how smoking can be harmful. Here’s some ways quitting can be helpful. If you quit, you will:
How can I quit?
There’s no one way to quit that works for everyone. A smoking cessation program may be helpful to you. Ask your healthcare provider about smoking cessation programs in your community.
Before you quit all at once ("cold turkey"), setting a plan will help:
What to do when you quit?
What happens when you quit?
After 20 minutes
After 8 hours
After 24 hours
After 48 hours
After 72 hours
After 2 weeks to 3 months
After 1 to 9 months
After 1 year
After 5 years
After 10 years
More good news: Quitting smoking improves your ability to breathe!
Even nonsmokers experience a decrease in lung capacity (the volume of air you are able to take in and forcibly exhale in one second) with age. However, you can minimize the impact by quitting smoking. If you want to breathe easier, the earlier you quit, the more lung capacity you will retain — here are some facts: If you are a smoker who has smoked an average of 30 cigarettes a day beginning at age 25, your lung capacity could decrease slightly more than a nonsmoker and would be below the average capacity of a nonsmoker by the time you turn 40. Furthermore, if you are a smoker who is at risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (a lung disease), your lung capacity can decrease rapidly by age 65, at which point you will likely be frequently short of breath.
How will I feel when I quit?
You may crave cigarettes, feel very hungry, cough often, get headaches, have difficulty concentrating, have constipation, feel very tired, have a sore throat or have difficulty sleeping. Although withdrawal symptoms will be the strongest when you first quit, they should go away within a few weeks.
I’ve tried quitting before, but it didn’t work. What can I do?
To quit smoking, you must be ready emotionally and mentally. Some people are more ready to quit than others. Look at these five stages of change.
Stage one: Pre-contemplation: The person does not want to quit smoking but may try to quit because he or she feels pressured.
Stage two: Contemplation: The person wants to quit someday. He or she has not taken steps to quit, but wants to quit.
Stage three: Preparation: The person takes small steps to quit such as cutting back on smoking or switching to a lighter brand.
Stage four: Action: The person puts a plan for quitting into action. He or she makes changes in his or her actions and environment to help cope with urges to smoke. The person copes with urges to smoke by following the plan and remains smoke-free for six months.
Stage five: Maintenance:The person has not smoked for one year. Smoking again (relapse) is common; 75 percent of those who quit, smoke again. Most smokers have tried three times before successfully quitting. Don’t give up!