Quitting Smoking

Congratulations on your journey to quit smoking.  You’ve made the first important step on your journey to better health for you and your child! 

We know that smoking is one of the hardest habits to break. Keep trying!  It takes most smokers about eight tries before they actually quit. The more often you try, the better your chance of quitting will be next time. So, don’t give up!

The benefits of quitting start right away and keep getting better the longer you go without smoking.  

When you stop smoking, within: 

  • 20 minutes: your blood pressure and heart rate return to normal
  • 12 hours: your carbon monoxide levels return to normal
  • 2 days: your sense of smell and taste improve
  • 2-3 weeks: your coughing and shortness of breath decrease
  • 1-9 months: your risk of a heart attack is cut in half
  • 5 years: your risk of a stroke is the same as if you were a non-smoker 
  • 10 years: your risk of dying of lung cancer is cut in half. Your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decrease  

Set a Quit Date. Pick a date within the next two weeks to quit smoking. Really think about which day will work best. Pick a day when you know you won’t be busy, stressed, or tempted to smoke.

  • Cold turkey: many smokers try to quit on their own, but this can be frustrating and you may start to smoke again. 
  • Counseling: you should get help to quit from your doctor, nurse, pharmacist or a smoking cessation counselor. They can give you important tips to help you quit. 
  • Medication: When you stop smoking, you will feel uncomfortable and want to smoke. This is withdrawal. Medicines can help you through the urges and cravings that you will feel when you stop smoking and help you through withdrawal.  
  • Counseling + medication: this method works best. Ask your healthcare provider to help you quit and talk to them about which medicine may be right for you. There are many options:
    • Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT): You can get NRT without a prescription.  Always talk with your healthcare provider prior to using NRT. NRT will help you through withdrawal by giving you a little bit of nicotine, but without all of the dangerous chemicals found in cigarettes. NRT options are patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers, and nasal spray
    • Buproprion (Zyban): this medicine is by prescription only. It helps to reduce nicotine withdrawal and helps decrease the urge to smoke. You can use Bupropion with NRT.
    • Varenicline (Chantix): this medicine is by prescription only. It helps to reduce nicotine withdrawal and the urge to smoke. It also blocks the effects of nicotine that you get from cigarettes if you start to smoke again.         
  • Throw away everything in your home, car, and workplace that have to do with smoking. So throw away all cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters. 
  • Wash your clothes, sheets and comforters. Shampoo your carpets and clean the inside of your car so that you get rid of the smoking smell.  
  • Keep a water bottle around that you can refill easily. 
  • Buy things you can chew on like carrot sticks, celery, toothpicks, cinnamon sticks, sugarless gum and sugarless candy.  
  • Get something to keep your hands busy like a ball or stress ball. 
  • Write a list of your top 5 reasons you want to quit and tape that list in your house, car and workplace.
  • If you’ve decided to use the nicotine patch, put it on or if you’ve decided on another nicotine replacement medicine, start using it as soon as you wake up! 
  • Get up quickly and get active! 
  • Don’t worry if you think a lot about cigarettes. That’s natural. When you think about cigarettes, let that thought pass and start thinking about something else. 
  • Don’t do the same things you used to do that you connect with smoking. So, if you normally drink coffee and smoke at a certain spot in the house, drink tea and have a healthy breakfast at a different spot in the house.  
  • Drink lots of water. 
  • Take walks and stay on the move all day to keep your mind off smoking.
  • Chew gum or eat healthy vegetables.


Did you know that Cincinnati Children’s has a Smoking Cessation Clinic for adults and kids? Call 513-803-7552 to schedule your appointment today!   


For more help, check out these smoking cessation websites:


Call the Quitline at 1-800-QUITNOW

Last Updated 01/2015