How to Quit
The age of the “cool smoker” is over.
There’s nothing cool about cancer. Tobacco is the No. 1 cause of preventable disease, disability and death in America. Everyone knows that tobacco is unhealthy, whether you smoke it, chew it or breathe it secondhand.
However, every year, the news just gets worse. In 2014, scientists discovered another dozen diseases caused or made worse by tobacco, including liver cancer, colorectal cancer, type 2 diabetes mellitus and rheumatoid arthritis. Studies also show that the cigarettes people smoke today are more likely to cause lung cancer than the cigarettes made 50 years ago due to changes in design and chemical composition.
Bottom line, there’s no good reason to use tobacco. You already knew that, though. So, let’s get quitting.
Watch this video to learn what happens when you call the Quit Line.
If you’re serious about quitting, one of the best things you can do is call the Quit Line. The quit coaches you’ll talk with have helped thousands of people beat their tobacco addictions, and the extra help they’ll give you will make it much easier for you to quit, too. All calls are confidential. The only people who will know you called are you and your quit coach. Even better, the Quit Line is 100 percent FREE.
English: 1.800.QUIT.NOW (1-800-784-8669)
Spanish: 1.855.DÉJELO.YA (1-855-335-3569)
English hours of operation: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Spanish hours of operation: 6 am to 10 pm MST, 7 days a week
Lots of people need a little help to quit smoking or chewing, and the great thing about the Quit Line is that it’s always just a phone call away, whenever you want it. Studies have shown that telephone counseling is one of the most effective ways to quit tobacco, and people who talk with a quit coach are MUCH more likely to quit and stay quit.
When you call the Utah Tobacco Quit Line, you can:
Quit Line services are available in English and Spanish. Translation is also available for more than 100 other languages. All services are free to Utah residents.
Would you prefer to get your help online? Online Coaching is a FREE, Internet-based service that will help you through the quitting process. Any time you need some information or support, it’s just a few clicks away, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Use whatever tools and features you want for as long as you like, including the following:
All these services are free to Utah users. Online coaching can be used alone or for added support, in combination with other quitting services, like the Utah Tobacco Quit Line.
Online Coaching is also available in Spanish.
SmokefreeTXT is a mobile text messaging service designed for adults and young adults across the United States. The program was created to provide 24/7 encouragement, advice and tips to help you quit tobacco and stay quit. It’s a six- to eight-week program that sends you one to five messages per day, or you can receive additional support when you want it by texting one of SmokefreeTXT’s keywords.
Read more about text support and how to sign up.
If you’re on Medicaid or uninsured, there are a lot of resources available to help you quit tobacco.
In Utah, the Medicaid system is part of the Department of Health. Medicaid clients often have higher smoking rates than average, so the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program (TPCP) partners with Medicaid to help people quit. The program offers services through the Utah Tobacco Quit Line and includes coverage of tobacco cessation medications, as well as additional help for pregnant women. To learn more, contact TPCP at 1-877-220-3466.
Through a grant from the TPCP, participating Association for Utah Community Health (AUCH) community health centers offer Zyban and Chantix free of charge for their uninsured clients. There are some qualifications that must be met:
If you are uninsured but do not currently go to a community health center for your primary care, you must become a client of the community health center for all of your primary care needs before you will be eligible to participate in this program. Contact your nearest community health center for more information.
The No. 1 indicator of whether or not a person will successfully quit tobacco is the number of times they’re willing to try.
Overcoming a tobacco addiction isn’t easy. In fact, some smokers feel like quitting is impossible. But with the right help, resources and support, you’ll soon see that what once seemed impossible is actually within reach. The truth is, the average smoker tries to quit as many as 11 times before ultimately succeeding. How many times are you willing to try? As long as you don’t give up, you will beat tobacco.
Commitment means convincing yourself that you want to quit, and it’s the most important step of the entire process. Once you’ve convinced yourself you’re going to quit, it becomes easier to move on to the next steps. Commitment means going from “I’ll give it a try” to “I’ll do it!”
You need to start by understanding why you use tobacco − whether it’s a social habit, a stress reliever or something else. If you know why you smoke, you can then choose different actions and rewards to replace your need for tobacco.
It’s important to make a plan to become tobacco-free. One method is to form new behaviors to take the place of tobacco use. For example, learn how to relax using audio programs or exercise, instead of having a cigarette. Choose a technique to quit that suits you, like “cold turkey” or tapering. Finally, let your friends and family know you are trying to quit. They are your biggest supporters and influencers − you need their support.
Don’t get discouraged. Even with a plan in place, it takes most people between two and 11 attempts to successfully quit. Some approaches work better than others for different people, but the key to quitting is to find the reason or reasons for your slips and to find new ways of avoiding them. Remember, a slip doesn’t mean you failed. It just means you slipped. Stay committed to quitting, and don’t give up.
Rewards for quitting can vary, from spending the money you saved on something special to bragging to friends, family and co-workers of your success. Perhaps the greatest reward of all is the health benefits your body will enjoy. You will feel your health improve as you become more and more tobacco-free.
Don't carry chewing tobacco, cigarettes, matches or a lighter with you.
Brush your teeth often to make your mouth taste fresh and clean, especially after eating.
Stay positive. Be proud of yourself for deciding to make a change and quitting or reducing your tobacco use.
Save the money you would normally spend on tobacco in a jar. Watch it add up, and use it to buy yourself something special.
Each time you crave tobacco, stop and ask yourself, “Do I really want this cigarette/chew?”
Go places where you can’t use tobacco such as the mall, the movies or school.
Stay busy − keep yourself from getting bored. Exercise, read, hike, bike, go see a movie.
When you feel tense, uptight or upset, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
Keep your hands busy. Try doodling, playing a musical instrument or fiddling with rubber bands.
Chew or suck on cinnamon- or mint-flavored gum or candy − they make tobacco taste bad.
Method: Set a quit date and don’t use any tobacco after that date.
Benefits: Gets you through the withdrawal period sooner. You don’t have to worry about keeping track of how many packs/cans you have used each day.
Drawbacks: The scary thought of suddenly going without tobacco may keep you from even trying to quit.
Method: Set a quit date, and reduce the number of cigarettes/cans used each day/week to become tobacco-free before that date.
Benefits: It lessens the impact of sudden withdrawal and slowly weans you from your addiction to tobacco.
Drawbacks: It requires you to keep track of your tobacco use, and high stress events may cause you to use up your supply before the end of the day-increasing chances of withdrawal symptoms.
Method: Keep a list of all the places you use tobacco. Each day or week, set one area on the list as off-limits. Soon, all the places you used tobacco will be off-limits, and you’ll be tobacco-free.
Benefits: It doesn’t require counting how much tobacco you use, but it slowly weans you from your addiction.
Drawbacks: High-stress situations may tempt you to smoke in places you’ve decided are off-limits. You have to be committed to make it work.
Method: Each day, set an amount of time that you have to wait between when a craving hits and when you actually use tobacco. Increase the amount of time a little every day until the cravings are passing and you’re tobacco-free.
Benefits: It doesn’t require counting how much tobacco you use.
Drawbacks: You have to be committed and not cheat, especially in high-stress situations.
Method: Use two or more of the previous methods at the same time.
Benefits: More methods mean more chances for success, and you might find that one method works better for you than others.
Drawbacks: Or, you might find that trying multiple methods is harder. Like anything new, it takes some time and practice to make each method work.
Withdrawal symptoms are their strongest 24 to 48 hours after you stop smoking. Some symptoms can last for hours, some for days, and others for weeks. Here are the main symptoms:
The Utah Tobacco Cessation Resource Directory is provided as a public service by the Utah Department of Health Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. The purpose of the directory is to assist tobacco users and health professionals in locating tobacco cessation resources in their local area. We encourage you to contact these agencies or programs if you are interested in more specific information about the length, content and cost (if any) of their programs.