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Kicking the Smoking Habit

If you smoke, quitting is one of the best changes you can make for your heart. Your risk of heart attack goes down within one day of putting out that last cigarette. As you go longer without smoking, your risk goes down even more. Quitting isn’t easy, but millions of people have done it. You can, too. It’s never too late to quit.

Getting started

Boost your chances of success by deciding on your “quit plan.” Your health care provider and cardiac rehab team can help you develop this plan. Even if you’ve already quit, it’s easy to slip back into smoking.  Your plan can help you avoid and recover from relapse.  In any case, start by setting a date to quit within a month, and do it.

Woman in provider's office. Provider is showing her a nicotine replacement patch.

Keys to your quit plan

  • Talk to your health care provider about prescription medications and nicotine replacement products that help stop the urge to smoke. 

  • Join a support group or quit smoking program. Talking with others about the challenges of quitting can help you get through them.

  • Ask other smokers in your household to quit with you.

Track your triggers

What gives you that “I-need-a-cigarette” feeling? List all the situations that make you want a cigarette. Then think of other ways to deal with these situations. Here are some examples:

Situation

How I'll handle it

Finishing a meal

Get up from the table and take a walk

Having an argument

Find a quiet place and breathe deeply

Feeling lonely or bored

Call a friend to talk

Tips for quitting successfully

  • List the benefits of quitting such as reducing heart risks and saving money. Keep this list and review it whenever you feel like smoking.

  • Get support. Let your friends know you may call them to chat when you have an urge to smoke.

  • If you’ve tried to quit before without success, this time avoid the triggers that may cause the relapse.

  • Make the most of slip-ups. Try to learn from them, and then get back on track.

For family and friends

  • Be supportive and patient. Quitting smoking can be difficult and stressful.

  • If you smoke, now’s a great time to quit. Even if you don’t quit, never smoke around your loved one. Secondhand smoke is dangerous to his or her heart.

Online Medical Reviewer: Louise Akin, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith, RN, MSN, FNP, CCRC
Last Review Date: 6/1/2013
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.