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When you quit smoking, you'll start to feel real benefits over time. Within a few hours, your blood pressure will go down and you'll have more energy. In about a month, you'll breathe deeper and cough less. Over the years, your risk for heart disease, stroke, and cancer will go way down.
No, it's never too late. No matter when you quit, your health will improve.
People who quit smoking reduce their risks for cancer, lung diseases, heart attacks, strokes, and blood vessel diseases. They get sick less often and heal faster.
Quitting has other benefits.
And you'll help others when you quit.
Having a plan and using medicines can help you quit. A quit plan helps you plan ahead. Before you quit, you identify the things that are likely to trigger tobacco use and how you'll manage them. You also think about what you need for support. Your doctor can suggest medicines to try.
Nicotine is addictive. Quitting is hard because your body depends on the nicotine in tobacco. It's also hard to quit because many things can trigger your desire to use tobacco, such as having a cup of coffee or finishing a meal. These routines can be very hard to give up.
Quitting tobacco may make you want to eat more or eat more often. That may lead to some weight gain after you quit. So in your plan to quit, be sure to include eating healthy foods and doing some physical activity. These things can help you manage your weight while you're quitting.
If you slip and use a little tobacco, don't give up. Talk to someone who has quit or to a counsellor. Ask them for ideas on what to do. A slip could turn into regular use (relapse), so it's important to do something different soon.
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Most people don't think about when or why they smoke. They just do it. But knowing when and why you smoke can help you choose the quitting strategy that is most likely to work. Perhaps you smoke:
What reasons do you have for smoking?
Many children and teens use cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or other forms of tobacco because their friends do. Movies and TV shows can make tobacco use seem attractive. Teens may use tobacco to try to manage their weight.
Teens may think that using tobacco is a way to look more mature, independent, and self-confident to their peers. They may do it to rebel against adults. But children and teens are also influenced by their family. They're especially likely to use tobacco if their parents do.
Hear from others
When you quit smoking, you'll feel real benefits over time. That includes having more energy, an improved sense of smell and taste, and more money in your pocket. And if you keep track of the ways that quitting has helped you over the hours, days, months, and years, it can help you quit for good. Here are a few good things to watch for.
If any of these benefits sound good to you, today is a great time to take the first step to quit smoking. Your body will thank you in just a few hours.
If you're thinking about quitting smoking, you may have a few reasons to be smoke-free. Your health may be one of them.
Having a plan can help you quit smoking.
This helps you stay motivated.
Pick a time and stick to it.
Throw out your cigarettes, ashtrays, and lighters. If you can, avoid being around others who smoke.
If you feel stressed or cranky, try things like exercise, calling a friend, or finding a new hobby.
Medicines and nicotine replacement products can increase your chances of quitting. They can relieve cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Get help from people who can encourage you and help you deal with stress.
If you slip up, don't blame yourself. It just means you may need to change your approach to quitting.
This helps make quitting feel within reach. And it reminds you why you're doing it.
Health Canada has approved several medicines to help people quit using tobacco. The medicines that doctors most often suggest are:
This includes nicotine gum, patches, lozenges, mouth spray, and inhalers. You can buy gum, patches, mouth spray, and inhalers without a prescription.
This prescription medicine helps withdrawal symptoms and cravings. It also reduces the pleasure you get from nicotine.
This prescription medicine reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
You won't have to take medicines forever—just for as long as it takes to help you quit. They increase your chances of quitting even if medicine is the only treatment you use to quit. Your chances are even better when you combine medicine and other quit strategies, such as counselling.
Your employer or health plan may help pay for medicines or for a quit-tobacco program.
It's not easy to quit. Nicotine is addicting. Your body craves it.
So when you try to stop smoking or using other nicotine products, you go through nicotine withdrawal. You may feel cranky and anxious. It can also be hard to sleep.
You're not the only one. Most people feel bad when they try to quit. The hardest part is not reaching for a smoke or other nicotine product.
Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal are at their worst during the first couple of days or so after you quit. They may last a few weeks or longer.
You can help yourself through this time by planning ahead for how you will manage your cravings and withdrawal. You'll want to:
One important part of quitting tobacco is getting help from people around you. This may include:
Most people who quit try many times before they quit for good. So if you slip and use a little tobacco, don't give up. Talk to someone who has quit or to a counsellor to get ideas on what to do. A slip could turn into regular use (relapse), so it's important to do something different soon. If you are taking medicine or using nicotine replacement, keep doing so. And consider adding a new treatment, like one-on-one counselling.
If you relapse, don't feel bad about yourself. A relapse is just a sign that you need to try a different approach.
If you tried to quit without medicines or a program, think about trying them next time. Medicines and nicotine replacement (such as gum, patches, or lozenges) can help you succeed in quitting tobacco. If you smoke, they can greatly increase your chances of success. And using both medicines and counselling is even more effective.
To get back on track:
To quit using tobacco, you have to learn how to deal with your cravings and temptations. But staying tobacco-free involves learning how to think and act like someone who doesn't use tobacco.
Many people who are able to make it through those first tough weeks without tobacco run into trouble about 3 to 4 weeks after they quit. Surprisingly, this is just about the time when physical cravings have stopped. And yet—people often go back to using tobacco.
Why does this happen? Some researchers found that staying tobacco-free may depend on how well you have been able to start seeing yourself as a person who doesn't use tobacco.
To help you make this change, think about spending time with other people who don't use tobacco. You could start going to an exercise class or a healthy-cooking class. Try any other activity that doesn't fit with your old view of yourself as a tobacco user.
You'll be able to enjoy and value a tobacco-free lifestyle when you:
Tobacco and other nicotine products are harmful and are not risk-free alternatives to cigarettes. They're addictive. They can cause serious health problems.
Vaping products contain chemicals that can be harmful and addictive. A deadly lung injury may be caused by vaping or using vaping products with THC (a chemical in cannabis) or other additives. Liquid nicotine can be poisonous if swallowed or spilled on the skin. Keep it out of children's reach. Vaping devices can also cause injury from explosions or burns.
Adaptation Date: 9/6/2023
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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