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Planning to Quit Smoking

Your healthcare provider may have told you that you need to give up tobacco. Only you can decide if and when you are ready to quit. Quitting is hard to do. But the benefits will be worth it. When you  decide to quit, come up with a plan that’s right for you. Discuss your plan with your healthcare provider. And talk to your provider about medicines to help you quit.

Adults sitting around table talking with group facilitator present.

Line up support

To quit smoking, you’ll need a plan and some help. Pick a date within the next 2 to 4 weeks to quit. Use the time between now and that date to arrange for support.

  • Classes and counselors. Quit-smoking classes coach people like you through the process. Get to know others in a class, and support each other beyond the class. Telephone counseling also helps you keep on track. Ask your healthcare provider, local hospital, or public health department to put you in touch with a class and a phone counselor.

  • Family and friends. Tell your family and friends about your quit date. Ask them to support your change. If they smoke, arrange to see them in smoke-free places. Forbid smoking in your home.


Finding something to replace cigarettes may be hard to do. Be aware that some things you choose may be as harmful as cigarettes:

  • Smokeless (chewing) tobacco is just as harmful as regular tobacco. Tobacco should not be used as a substitute for cigarettes.

  • Herbal medicines or teas may affect how your body handles nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before using these products.

  • E-cigarettes have less toxins than the smoke from a regular cigarette. But the FDA says that these devices may still have substances that can cause cancer. E-cigarettes are not well regulated. They have not been studied enough to know if they are a good aid to help you stop smoking. Talk with your healthcare provider befor using these products.


Quit-smoking products

Many products can help you quit smoking. Some are prescription medicines that help curb your cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Other products slowly lessen the level of nicotine your body absorbs. Nicotine is the highly addictive substance found in cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco. Nicotine replacement products can help get your body used to slowly decreasing amounts of nicotine after you quit smoking. These products include a nicotine patch, gum, lozenge, nasal spray, and inhaler. Be sure you follow the directions for your medicine or product carefully. Your healthcare provider may tell you to start taking the prescription medicine a week before you plan to quit. Do not smoke while you use nicotine products. Doing so can be very harmful to your health.

For more information


  • National Cancer Institute Smoking Quitline: 877-44U-QUIT (877-448-7848)

Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Online Medical Reviewer: Turley, Ray, BSN, MSN
Last Review Date: 11/12/2014
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