Comit to Quit Comit to Quit
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commit to Quit Smoking in 2013

Make 2013 the year you quit smoking! This could be the most important resolution you ever make. Help is available to help you stop smoking for good.

Commit to Quit Smoking in 2013!

During the holiday season, many people decide to improve their lives and health by making resolutions. These resolutions can take many forms: exercising more, losing weight, or getting more sleep. If you are a smoker, a key resolution you can make this year is to quit smoking. Start by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) to get free advice and support in helping you to quit now.

What Are the Health Risks of Smoking?

Tobacco smoke contains a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds are toxic, and about 70 cause cancer. The adverse health effects from cigarette smoking account for an estimated 443,000 deaths, or nearly one of every five deaths, each year in the United States. More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.

Why Quit Smoking Now?

Fortunately, people who stop smoking can greatly reduce their risk for disease and premature death. And the younger you are when you quit, the better your chance of avoiding these problems. So call 1-800-QUIT-NOW and make a plan to quit today.

When you quit smoking you will:

Lower your risk for lung and other types of cancer. Reduce your risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. Reduce respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Reduce your risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Reduce your risk for infertility if you are a woman in your reproductive years. Women who stop smoking during pregnancy also reduce their risk of having a low birth weight baby.

When you quit smoking, you will also help protect your children, family, and friends from exposure to secondhand smoke that can cause immediate harm to those who breathe it.

No One Said It Would Be Easy

Quitting smoking can be challenging. Most people make multiple attempts. That’s because nicotine is a very addictive drug. But don’t give up trying just because you haven’t succeeded in the past. Almost 50 million smokers have successfully quit. In fact, since 2002, the number of former U.S. smokers has exceeded the number of current smokers. Think about your past attempts to quit—what worked and what didn’t. Keep trying different quit methods until you find what works for you. Most importantly, don’t give up trying to quit smoking. You can learn something new every time you try. This time might be time you quit for good!

Choose From Among Several Effective Methods to Quit

Fortunately, many effective quit methods are available to you. Talk to your doctor or health care provider about quitting, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), or visit for free information and support. The most important thing you can do is to COMMIT to quitting. Following are some science-based strategies that have worked for some people:

Prepare Ahead and Change Your Routines Prepare for the day you plan to quit. Think about your environment and what you need to change. Get rid of all tobacco products (and other items such as ashtrays) in your home, car, and place of work. Don’t let people smoke in your presence. Ask them not to use tobacco around you or leave cigarettes and other tobacco products where you can see them. When you first try to quit, change your routine. Use a different route to work. Eat breakfast in a different place. Do something to reduce your stress. Try to distract yourself when you feel an urge to smoke or use tobacco. Talk to someone, go for a walk, exercise, or read a book. Plan something enjoyable to do every day. Let Others Help You Get support from other people. There are many ways to do this. For example, tell your family, friends, and coworkers that you are going to quit and that you want their support. Studies have shown that you have a better chance of being successful if you have help. Consider signing up for individual, group, or telephone counseling. Counseling doubles your chances of success. Counseling can help you identify and overcome situations that trigger the urge to smoke. Free programs are available at local hospitals and health centers. Call your local health department for information about programs in your area. Telephone counseling is also available free of charge across the United States at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). Talk to Your Doctor or Health Care Provider Talk to your health care provider (e.g., doctor, dentist, nurse, pharmacist, psychologist, or smoking cessation coach or counselor), especially if you want to consider using medications. Medications can help you stop smoking and lessen the urge to smoke. Over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies, or NRTs, can help. These are medications that contain nicotine to help reduce your cravings and withdrawal symptoms so you can focus on changing the behavior and habits that trigger your urge to smoke. Some NRTs are available without a doctor’s prescription, including nicotine lozenges, nicotine gum, and nicotine patches. You can also get a prescription from your doctor for NRTS, such as nicotine inhalers and nasal sprays, that act much like the over-the-counter NRTs. Other prescription medications—like bupropion SR and varenicline tartrate—do not contain nicotine and work in different ways to help reduce your urge to smoke. These medications are FDA-approved and proven to be effective in helping smokers to quit. Talk to your doctor about these and all medications.

Quit counseling can be combined with over-the-counter or prescription medications. You can use counseling and medication alone to treat tobacco dependence, though combining them is more effective than either alone. Regardless of how you decide to quit—whether you use medicines, counseling, or simply stopping smoking on your own—it’s most important to commit to quit, make a plan, and stick with it.

Real People Who Quit

In 2012, CDC launched a national tobacco education campaign called Tips From Former Smokers. This campaign featured real people, many of whom started smoking in their teens and are suffering from smoking-related illnesses. By showing people whose lives have been affected by the damage caused by smoking—as well as how they successfully quit—CDC hopes to encourage smokers to quit and young people not to start and to strongly discourage smoking around others, particularly children.