Sarah Cannon - November 20, 2014

You've been thinking about not smoking. Maybe you've even told friends or family members that you're going to quit. Congratulations! Committing to quit smoking for good is the first step to a smoke-free and healthier life. Join many other smokers in the pledge to quit during the American Cancer Society's annual "Great American Smokeout," a day to challenge people across the U.S. to quit using tobacco. The Great American Smokeout takes place on the third Thursday of November every year.

quit smoking for good

To give your no-smoking pledge a boost, we've gathered some tips from the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout page:

  • Set a quit date and make a plan to stick with it. When you establish your goal quit date, it will be easier to build a realistic plan and stick with it. Take it one step at a time.
  • Find a new hobbie to distract you during cravings. Perhaps go for a walk with a friend, take a cooking class, work a crossword puzzle. Finding an activity to participate in will keep your mind off cravings.
  • Choose a healthy food that can replace the habit of bringing a cigarette to your mouth. Carrot sticks or smaller vegetables make a great replacement.
  • Seek support You don't have to go it alone. Access the many support options available: smoking cessation programs and support groups, individual counseling and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). (Click Resources for contact information.)
  • Kick the craving:  Nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) can help relieve withdrawal symptoms. Your doctor may also prescribe an anti-depressant or Varenicline (brand name Chantix).

Check out our Tips to Help You Stop Smoking and Nicotine Addiction pages for more help.

Quitting Smoking Benefits the Body

Does quitting smoking really make a difference? Check out these recovery numbers from the American Cancer Society:

  • In 20 minutes: Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
  • In 12 hours: Carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • In 2 weeks to 3 months: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
  • In 1 to 9 months: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease and the cilia start to regain normal function in the lung.

And the health benefits keep growing the longer you stay smoke-free: reduced risk of coronary heart disease, cancer and stroke in the years ahead. Need more?

So go ahead kick the habit for good! Have a friend who smokes? Encourage them to join you in your pledge to quit during the Great American Smokeout.


American Cancer Society - Great American Smokeout , Guide to Quitting Smoking , Getting help with the mental part of addiction , Varenicline