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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.
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.
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
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