Teens Thinking About Quitting Smoking: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

What would happen if you quit smoking? Just thinking about where you stand on your smoking is a great first step.

It may seem hard to quit. But when you do, you'll look back and see it as one of the best things you've ever done.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Think about why you want to quit

You have your own reasons for quitting. Why do you want to quit? Are any of these reasons YOUR reasons?

  • You'll have a nicer smile because your teeth will be whiter.
  • Your hair, clothes, and breath will smell better—not only to you, but to other people.
  • Your dating life might get better. Teens often say that they prefer dating and kissing people who don't use tobacco.
  • You will have more money. Add up how much you spend each week, month, or year on cigarettes (or smokeless tobacco). What else could you do with that money?
  • You want a new job or internship. You have a better chance of being hired if you're not a smoker.
  • Are you a runner? Do you play basketball or soccer? You won't get tired as quickly. Athletes perform better after they quit smoking.
  • You're sick of tobacco controlling your life. Do you have to leave a restaurant or party because you need to smoke? Are you thinking more about your next smoke than your next class? It's easy to get addicted to smoking. Over half of teens who start smoking become addicted. Quitting puts you back in control.
  • You may be able to control your weight better. Smoking isn't a good way to lose weight or keep from gaining weight. Getting physical activity and eating healthy foods work much better. And because exercise gives you muscle tone, your clothes may fit and look better.

Know the risks of smoking

  • Smoking can harm your health now. For example, it can make asthma symptoms worse, cause you to cough, and make you tire more easily. People who smoke have more colds, flu, and pneumonia than people who don't smoke.
  • Smoking can harm your future health. If you smoke, you're more likely to have lung cancer and other cancers, heart attack, and stroke.
  • Smoking can harm others. When you smoke around others, your second-hand smoke increases their chances of getting cancer and heart disease.

Look forward to the rewards

  • You will have more money.
  • Your parents, friends, and relatives will stop giving you a hard time.
  • You will have more energy.
  • Your sense of smell will improve.
  • Your voice may improve as your voice box (larynx) becomes less irritated by cigarette smoke.
  • You will breathe more deeply and easily.
  • You will not be addicted. You'll be in control of your habits.

Know what to expect

It's hard to quit smoking. But if you know what to expect, it can help. These are some common situations you may face.

  • You may crave nicotine. You want it and you want it now! You can take medicine that may help with the cravings. Or you can distract yourself by doing something else, such as dancing or listening to music.
  • You may worry about gaining weight. You can make this less likely by being active or taking medicines to help with nicotine cravings. You also can eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and eat fewer high-fat foods.
  • Smoking may be a big part of your social life. If your friends smoke, you may need to spend less time with them. It may help to find new friends who don't smoke.
  • People will offer you cigarettes. Learn how to say "no." You can:
    • Look the person in the eye and say "No, thanks." Sometimes that's all you need to do. Say it as many times as you need to. Also ask the person not to ask you again: "I'm cool with my decision, so don't bother me again."
    • Say why you don't want to smoke. Here are some examples: "I'm trying to quit," "I don't like how it makes me smell," or "I have asthma, and smoking makes it worse."
    • Ask for respect. Make it clear that you don't want to smoke and that continuing to ask you is showing no respect for your opinions. "I don't give you a hard time, so why are you giving me a hard time?"
  • It's harder to do it alone. Support can help your chances of quitting.
    • Find a friend who will quit with you.
    • Ask your friends for support, and ask friends who smoke not to smoke in front of you.
    • Call 1-866-366-3667 or go to gosmokefree.gc.ca/quit to find help in your province.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You need help to quit smoking.
  • You want to talk more about quitting smoking.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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