You’ve been thinking about not smoking. Maybe you’ve even told friends or family members that you’re going to quit. Congratulations! Committing to quit smoking for good is the first step to a smoke-free and healthier life. Join many other smokers in the pledge to quit during the American Cancer Society’s annual “Great American Smokeout,” a day to challenge people across the U.S. to quit using tobacco. The Great American Smokeout takes place on the third Thursday of November every year.

To give your no-smoking pledge a boost, we’ve gathered some tips from the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout page:

  • Set a quit date and make a plan to stick with it. When you establish your goal quit date, it will be easier to build a realistic plan and stick with it. Take it one step at a time.
  • Find a new hobbie to distract you during cravings. Perhaps go for a walk with a friend, take a cooking class, work a crossword puzzle. Finding an activity to participate in will keep your mind off cravings.
  • Choose a healthy food that can replace the habit of bringing a cigarette to your mouth. Carrot sticks or smaller vegetables make a great replacement.
  • Seek support—You don’t have to go it alone. Access the many support options available: smoking cessation programs and support groups, individual counseling and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT).
  • Kick the craving—Nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) can help relieve withdrawal symptoms. Your doctor may also prescribe an anti-depressant or Varenicline (brand name Chantix®).

Check out our Tips to Help You Stop Smoking and Nicotine Addiction pages for more help.

Quitting Smoking Benefits the Body

Does quitting smoking really make a difference? Check out these recovery numbers from the American Cancer Society:

  • In 20 minutes: Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
  • In 12 hours: Carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • In 2 weeks to 3 months: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
  • In 1 to 9 months: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease and the cilia start to regain normal function in the lung.

And the health benefits keep growing the longer you stay smoke-free: reduced risk of coronary heart disease, cancer and stroke in the years ahead. Need more?

So go ahead—kick the habit for good! Have a friend who smokes? Encourage them to join you in your pledge to quit during the Great American Smokeout.

Sources:

American Cancer Society — Great American Smokeout, Guide to Quitting Smoking, Getting help with the mental part of addiction, Varenicline