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Tobacco Cessation

Start Today

Commit to just one easy, healthy action today. A few examples are:

Make “Tobacco Quit Day” a reality.

Decide when you’ll quit tobacco and mark it on your calendar.

Making your intention to quit official helps you prepare for the transition and also helps you put your plan into action. Sharing your planned quit date with friends and family—through Facebook, for example—can help you feel accountable and rally support, too.

Looking to build a quit plan? Start here!

Remind yourself why you want to quit.

Make a list of several reasons you want to quit tobacco. Get more specific than “it’s bad for me.” Think of things like “no more stinky clothes,” “breathing easier,” and “stop coughing.”

If you want to be a successful quitter, you’ll need motivation. Keep this list handy and refer to it often—before, during, and after you quit—for motivation to stick with it.

Get active when you feel like using tobacco.

Every time you feel like reaching for tobacco, do something physical instead. Take a ten-minute walk around the office, take the dog for a walk, or do some gentle stretching.

Replacing an unhealthy habit with a healthy one can help shake up your patterns and make quitting easier. Plus, exercise can help ease nicotine cravings and keep weight gain to a minimum as you say goodbye to tobacco for good.

Give tobacco cravings time to subside.

When you feel like using tobacco today, wait four minutes before you act on it. (Set a timer if you have to).

Tobacco cravings can seem so strong, yet they’re usually short—only lasting about three minutes or so. Many people find that if they wait it out, the craving is weaker and easier to ignore. And let’s face it, that craving will pass whether you light up or not.

Thinking about simply switching to a different tobacco product? Think again. All tobacco products contain harmful chemicals and poisons that are just as addicting as regular cigarettes. E-cigs are also dangerous!

Remove cigarettes or other tobacco products from your home and car. This decreases accessibility and can help you avoid breaking a smoke free streak.


These are just a few of the benefits of quitting smoking for good. Quitting smoking lowers the risk of diabetes, lets blood vessels work better, and helps the heart and lungs. Quitting while you are younger will reduce your health risks more, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke.

Over Time


Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.

(Effect of smoking on arterial stiffness and pulse pressure amplification, Mahmud A, Feely J. Hypertension.2003:41:183)

The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1988, p. 202)

Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.

(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp.193, 194,196, 285, 323)

Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) start to regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.

(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. 285-287, 304)

The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s.

(US Surgeon General’s Report, 2010, p. 359)

Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a nonsmoker. Stroke risk can fall to that of a nonsmoker after two to five years.

(A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease – The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease Fact Sheet, 2010; and Tobacco Control: Reversal of Risk After Quitting Smoking.IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Vol. 11. 2007, p 341)

The risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. The risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases.

(A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease – The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease Fact Sheet, 2010; and US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. vi, 155, 165)

The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker’s.

(Tobacco Control: Reversal of Risk After Quitting Smoking. IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Vol. 11. 2007. p 11)

Immediate Rewards

Kicking the tobacco habit offers some benefits that you’ll notice right away and some that will develop over time. These rewards improve most peoples’ day-to-day lives a great deal:

  • Food tastes better,
  • Your sense of smell returns to normal,
  • Everyday activities (such as climbing stairs or light housework) no longer leave you out of breath, and
  • You can be in smoke-free buildings without having to go outside to smoke.

Cost Savings

The prospect of better health is a major reason for quitting, but there are other reasons, too.

Smoking is expensive. It isn’t hard to figure out how much you spend on smoking: multiply how much money you spend on tobacco every day by 365 (days per year). The amount may surprise you. Now multiply that by the number of years you have been using tobacco and that amount will probably shock you.

Multiply the cost per year by ten (for the next ten years) and ask yourself what you would rather do with that much money. And this doesn’t include other possible costs, such as higher costs for health and life insurance, and likely health care costs due to tobacco-related problems.

Health of Others

Smoking not only harms your health but it hurts the health of those around you. Exposure to secondhand smoke (also called environmental tobacco smoke or passive smoking) includes exhaled smoke as well as smoke from burning cigarettes.

Studies have shown that secondhand smoke causes thousands of deaths each year from lung cancer in healthy non-smokers. Over the past fifty years, this amounts to more than 2.5 million deaths from secondhand smoke.

If a mother smokes, there is a higher risk of infant and childhood health issues, especially if she smoked while she was pregnant.

Studies support that babies and children who are exposed to cigarette smoke indoors have more ear infections, colds, bronchitis, and problems with breathing than children in non-smoking families.

To learn more, please see Secondhand Smoke.

Setting an Example

If you have children, you probably want to set a good example for them. When asked, nearly all smokers say they don’t want their children to smoke. But children whose parents smoke are more likely to start smoking themselves. You can become a better role model for them by quitting now.

Are you ready to quit smoking? Call the Tennessee Tobacco QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). You may also join the program online by clicking here. This program is free to all Tennessee residents.

Would you like support breaking your habit? Participate in this eight-part class series, offered three times per year. Contact the UT Medical Center at 865-305-6970 for the next session dates and to sign up today.


amercican lung assoc

American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy, and research.

American Lung Association Freedom from Smoking Class
Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge
Ready to break the habit? Participate in this free eight-part class series, offered four times per year. A $50 deposit (refunded after completion of all eight classes) is required. Contact Methodist Medical Center at 865-835-4662 for the next session dates and to sign up today.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) works collaboratively to create the expertise, information and tools that people and communities need to protect their health.


Partners for Health employee assistance program is available 24/7, 365 days a year at 1-855-437-3486. The resource provides mental health support and a referral network which is part of your insurance benefit package.