Quitting Smoking

With the help of a Tobacco Cessation Program, you can reach your goal of becoming tobacco free for life. Our program is designed to minimize the obstacles in your life which prevent you from reaching your goal. Once you’ve decided to quit using tobacco,  get rid of all tobacco products. Throw away ALL cigarettes, chewing tobacco, ashtrays, matches, lighters, and cigarette cases. Look for materials everywhere you’ve used tobacco (home, car, workplace, etc.). Be sure to clean or remove the ashtray in your car.


Tobacco Additives and Their Effects

The smoke inhaled from a cigarette contains many chemicals and compounds, some of which are: tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, arsenic, ammonia, DDT, bark, paper ammonia, and flavoring agents. During cigarette manufacturing up to 80 different ingredients may be mixed with tobacco.

Tar, a thick substance that clings to the sides of your airways, causes dryness and irritation. It also can cause an increase in cough and mucus production. The use of tobacco could also affect many diseases from periodontal disease to heart disease. There is evidence proving tobacco users are less able to fight off infection, their healing from surgery is slower, and patients are more likely to have more complications.

Nicotine is an addictive drug that causes a physical craving. Nicotine stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a drug that stimulates the reward center of the brain, and this is what makes people keep using the substance. Nicotine restricts your circulation, which in turn causes an increase in your heart rate and blood pressure. Cilia, the tiny hair structures in your airways, which keep
your lungs clean, are paralyzed by nicotine.

Carbon monoxide decreases the ability of your body to carry oxygen efficiently. This along with the effects of nicotine will cause an increase in shortness of breath and decrease in stamina.


Effects of Quitting

Quitting smoking will cause changes in your body. These changes may be unpleasant for a while, but will soon go away. Nicotine clears the body within 72 hours, no matter how long you have smoked. You might be surprised at how fast your health improves when you quit smoking.

The symptoms of quitting can vary from person to person and may include the following: dizziness, chills, upset stomach, lack of concentration, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, headache, sleeplessness, constipation, increase in appetite and coughing.


Aides to Help Quit

Some smoking cessation help aides are available over the counter and some require a doctor’s prescription.

Over the counter items (non-prescription)

  • Nicotine patch: Nicoderm CQ®
  • Nicotine lozenges
  • Nicotine gum

Prescription medications

  • Nicotine patches: Prostep® and Habitrol®
  • Nicotine nasal spray
  • Nicotine inhaler
  • Zyban®
  • Chantix®

Nicotine patches vary in strength and are often characterized as being a “step down” method. Examples of Nicoderm® patches follows:
1st patch -   21 mg, 4 weeks
2nd patch -  14 mg, 2 weeks
3rd patch -  7 mg, 2 weeks
21 mg is comparable to about a pack of full strength cigarettes.


How to Quit

There are many recommended ways to quit. Some include:

  • Social support
  • Treatment support (coaching)
  • Use of a tobacco support quit line. The Wisconsin Quit Line is free, sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Call 1.800.QUIT.NOW.
  • Community quitting groups or individual assistance
  • Use of FDA approved quitting medications: Zyban® (non-nicotine), Chantix®, nicotine patch, nicotine gum, nicotine lozenge, nicotine nasal spray, and nicotine inhaler. Medications may be used in combination, with doctor’s approval, if you have been unable to quit using only one. Note: Medications should be used unless the patient is pregnant, under 18, uses 10 or less cigarettes per day, is within two weeks of an acute myocardial infarction (heart attack), or has unstable angina.

Some quit methods not supported by research at this time are herbal therapy, acupuncture, and hypnosis.

Managing the Urge to Smoke

Tobacco use results from a variety of triggers, both physical and psychological. It is important for you to become conscious of all smoking triggers, no matter how subtle. For example: an alarm going off, a telephone ringing, drinking a cup of coffee, driving a car or after eating are all trigger mechanisms. Becoming aware of these is the first step to changing them. The on-demand nicotine replacement products can also help control these urges. Smokers that use nicotine replacement products often have a higher rate success for quitting.


By changing your usual order of doing things, you can break the association you now have with cigarettes.

  • Get up on the other side of bed.
  • Don’t go for a cigarette when you get up, instead have a cold glass of water or juice.
  • Brush your teeth immediately after getting up.
  • Drive a different route to work.
  • Listen to a different radio station.
  • Take breaks and lunch in a different place.
  • Go for a walk during lunch.
  • Avoid other smokers (if possible).


  • Eat at a smoke-free restaurant.
  • Go to lunch with different people.
  • Leave the table as soon as you are finished eating.
  • Brush your teeth.
  • Use a mouthwash.
  • Go for a walk.


  • Spend more time in an area of your home not associated with smoking.
  • Hold the telephone receiver in the opposite hand.
  • Don’t sit in your smoking chair.
  • Keep busy. It takes seven minutes to smoke a cigarette.  If you smoke a pack a day, that is two hours, 20 minutes of time you would have.
  • Visit with a non-smoking friend.
  • Read.
  • Go to a movie.
  • Make something (crafts).
  • Go to a sports event.
  • Exercise.

Keeping these techniques in mind, wait five minutes before lighting up a cigarette. You’ll discover that many minutes go by before you feel another urge to smoke. Once the urge passes, you may no longer want a cigarette.

Remember, the urge will go away whether you smoke or not.

Don’t wait for the urge to hit – you can prevent urges from happening by not becoming too hungry, angry, lonely or tired. These types of situations can trigger the urge to smoke.

“One won't hurt” – never give in to the urge for one cigarette. Giving into one will make it easier to give into another. If you need to inform friends and family members of your decision to quit smoking and ask for their support.

Reasons to Quit

  • Quitting improves your appearance:
    • Healthier skin
    • Fresher breath
    • Whiter, healthier teeth.
  • Your clothes and hair smell better.
  • Your sense of taste and smell revitalize.
  • Improve your game, climb stairs and vacuum without losing your breath.
  • Save money—the cost of cigarettes are continuing to increase. Complete the following to calculate the cost of your smoking in the past year.

1. How many packs smoked per day? ________

2. Multiply the number of packs by 365

     ________ x 365 = ___________

     This is the average number of packs smoked per year.

3. Multiply the average number of packs smoked per year by the average cost of a pack of cigarettes:

     _________ x $_________ = _________
      This total is the cost of your smoking for the past year. Think about putting what you spend daily on cigarettes in a “ciggy bank.” Use this money to reward yourself for quitting smoking.

  • Sense of accomplishment. You have now taken control of this part of your life. Being in control projects a positive attitude toward yourself and others.


Everyone knows your health improves when you quit smoking/chewing, but you might be surprised at how fast it happens…

  • 20 minutes after quitting: Your blood pressure drops to a level close to that before the last cigarette. The temperature of your hands and feet increases to normal.
  • 8 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • 24 hours after quitting: Your chance of heart attack decreases.
  • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation and lung function improve.
  • 1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce infection.
  • 1 year after quitting: The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a tobacco user.
  • 5 years after quitting: Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker 5-15 years after quitting.
  • 10 years after quitting: The lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing tobacco user. The risk of cancer of mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decrease.
  • 15 years after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease falls to that of a nonsmokers.


Stress is a normal part of every day life. Learning to manage stress effectively will help you when it comes to quitting smoking. It is important that you learn to recognize situations and things that are stressful for you before they become overwhelming.

Remember… a cigarette will not change the stressful situation… but YOU can.



Physical activity is one way to relieve stress. Physical activity doesn’t have to be boring or overexerting. You need to find something you like to do. Try a variety of activities such as:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Gardening
  • Golf

Deep breathing exercises can also help relieve stress. When you inhale while smoking, the deep breath gives you a sense of relaxation. This can be compared to the deep breathing exercise outlined below.

  1. Relax and sit in a comfortable chair.
  2. Breathe deeply through your nose.
  3. Hold your breath for three seconds.
  4. Exhale slowly through your mouth.
  5. Repeat exercise until you feel relaxed.
  6. Deep breathing exercise can also be used to help control urges.

Muscle relaxation is another way to relieve daily stress. Remember it is important to remain as stress free as possible during the quitting process. For muscle relaxation sit in a comfortable chair.

  1. Do deep breathing exercises.
  2. Tighten muscles and hold for a few seconds.
  3. Relax and continue with deep breathing exercises.
  4. Repeat for 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. This exercise can also be done while listening to relaxation tapes which are available in bookstores.
  6. Squeezing a stress ball can relieve tensions and help you relax.


The people around you can influence your decision to quit smoking in either a positive or negative way. You need to inform friends and family members of your decision to quit smoking and ask for their support.

Some of the ways friends and family members can help you with the quitting process are:

  • Helping you get rid of all smoking materials.
  • Keeping you busy and active.
  • Encouraging and understanding you.

For them to be supportive, they need to understand that you may be more irritable or upset at times. Keep them informed of your progress and ask for their help in handling difficult situations.

Be positive about the progress you have made. You decided to take control rather than letting cigarettes control you. Remember, withdrawal symptoms may be unpleasant, but they are a sign of progress. Don’t forget to reward yourself, you deserve it.

Weight Management and Maintenance

Weight Management

It is not unusual to experience the urge to snack during the quitting process. Food can become your new response to loneliness, stress, or fatigue. These are times when previously you would have reached for tobacco. When you find yourself physically or emotionally hungry, be sure to choose your food wisely. If you eat, allow yourself a small amount of something you enjoy.

  • Be sure to plan ahead, have low-calorie snacks on hand. Eat on a regular schedule to avoid becoming too hungry.

Examples of low-calorie snacks:

  • Pretzels Vegetables
  • Fresh fruit Rice cakes
  • Ginger snaps Low-fat yogurt
  • Graham crackers Popcorn

Increasing physical activity helps control your weight and makes you feel better. Now that you have become smoke-free you will find that physical activities and/or sports can be more enjoyable. Here are some ideas how to increase the number of calories you burn each day, without engaging in a full-fledged exercise program. During your day, take advantage of opportunities at home or at work to burn extra calories.

  • Walk when you get the chance (during breaks or lunch).
  • Park your car several blocks away.
  • Use the stairs.


The techniques you have just learned will help you initially control your urges. Now you need to learn how to maintain your tobacco-free life. Once you feel confident about being and ex-chewer, gradually get back into your “normal” routine. You can go back to:

  • Your favorite chair
  • Previous driving route
  • Familiar lunch spot

Slowly re-establish former tobacco triggers, one at a time, stopping when you feel stronger urges. Watch out for events you have not yet experienced as an ex-chewer.

  • Holidays and family gatherings
  • Meetings
  • Night out with friends

You will notice that after you have been tobacco-free for a while, the thrill lessens. You may not feel the support from others as you did before. In fact, some people may try to sabotage your efforts, making comments such as:

  • “You’ve been so irritable since you quit, I wish you would go back to chewing”.
  • “Just once wouldn’t hurt.”

This may cause a depression. It is up to you to continue rewarding yourself for your accomplishment.



It is important to remember the day you quit. Celebrate it every month for the first six months and once a year, thereafter. Now that you are tobacco free, your new healthy habits will allow you to enjoy your life. The best part is that they are habits you will never have to give up.

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