Stop Smoking :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

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Stop Smoking

How to Quit

  • List your reasons for quitting. For example:
    • Live longer
    • Decrease coughing
    • Save money
    • Provide clean air for the people around me
  • Set a “quit” date and mark it on your calendar. Pick a day that has special meaning if possible.
  • Talk to your physician or healthcare provider about nicotine replacement therapy and smoking cessation medicine options.
  • Ask someone else who smokes to quit with you so that you can help each other.
  • If any of your friends has quit smoking, ask them for help and support.
  • Each day deposit money not spent on cigarettes in a clear bank, and watch your savings grow. Plan a reward for yourself.
  • Each day try to smoke less as you get closer to your quit date. Make the time between each cigarette longer and longer.
  • When your “quit day” comes, throw away your cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays. Ask your family and friends to please not smoke around you.
  • Take one day at a time. Each morning tell yourself, “I will not smoke today.”
  • If alcohol is a trigger for smoking, then avoid drinking alcohol.
  • Avoid situations where you encounter other smokers. It can be very hard to resist smoking once you see other people smoking.

What Happens When You Stop Smoking

Nicotine withdrawal occurs when the nervous system reacts to the lack of nicotine in the blood. Nicotine is a very addictive drug. Some say it is more addictive than heroin.

During withdrawal you may have:

  • A strong urge to smoke
  • Short temper
  • Frequent thoughts about cigarettes and smoking
  • Nervousness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Restlessness

How to Handle Nicotine Withdrawal

The symptoms of withdrawal from nicotine are worst the first 3 to 7 days after quitting. After that, the physical symptoms fade and are gone by 2 weeks. During withdrawal, you may be moody and nervous. You may sweat and have cravings for sweets. You may also have trouble sleeping or concentrating.

  • Adjust your attitude. Decide from the start that smoking is not an option.
  • Understand smoking urges. Remember that urges to smoke are brief, and the urge will fade in time.
  • Learn to relax. Take several slow, deep breaths. Focus on the air moving easily in and out of your body.
  • Imagine yourself in a favorite place where you are content and comfortable. Continue breathing easily. While you relax, let the image be as vivid as possible. When you “return,” you will find the urge to smoke has been replaced by a sense of calm.

Cigarette Substitutes

  • Keep hands and mouth busy.
  • Chew on toothpicks.
  • Chew on sugar free candy and mints.
  • Find hobbies or crafts to work on.
  • Chew on fruit and vegetable sticks.
  • Take up exercising, like walking after lunch and dinner.
  • Drink lots of water and juices.
  • Electronic cigarettes are not devices to quit smoking. Do not start vaping them if you are trying to quit smoking.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy and Smoking Cessation Medicines

Nicotine Replacement Therapy Options:

  • Gum
  • Skin patch
  • Lozenges
  • Nasal spray
  • Inhalers (prescription required)
  • Smoking Cessation Medicines (prescription required):
    • Bupropion (brand name, Zyban®).
    • Varenicline (brand name, Chantix®)

What if I “Slip”?

Don’t give up just because you have one cigarette! Having a “slip” can happen to anyone. Keep trying. Most successful quitters have tried to quit 8 or 9 times before. You can do it!

Stop Smoking Programs

Ohio Tobacco Quit Line

  • Free counseling is available to uninsured, Medicaid recipients, pregnant women and members of the Ohio Tobacco Collaborative
  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy may be available to those who qualify.
  • Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8339) to learn more and to enroll.
  • Text to Quit Smoking: text the word “QUIT” (7848) to “IQUIT” (47848) to receive tailored smoking cessation advice via Text Message.

Baby and Me Tobacco Free:

  • Free Smoking Cessation Sessions: Take part in four sessions designed to help pregnant women with strategies to quit.
  • Free Diapers: Receive a monthly voucher for free diapers for up to 12 months when you stay smoke free after your baby is born.
  • Columbus Public Heath 614-645-2135

Smoke free teen:

American Cancer Society®

The National Cancer Institute and other government agencies

  • An online smoking cessation program tailored to your needs along with a downloadable app and chat line
  • Go to to learn more about this website

Stop Smoking (PDF)

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