Smoking and Tobacco Cessation

While it may seem like a goal that’s almost impossible to achieve, according to the American Lung Association, nearly 45 million Americans have quit smoking for good. Though it often takes tobacco and vape users several tries before they’re finally able to break the habit, quitting is indeed possible with the proper tools and support.

Why should I quit?

An estimated 400,000 Americans die each year from diseases directly related to smoking or other tobacco use. New long-term studies indicate that about half of all regular tobacco users die of nicotine-related diseases. Nicotine addiction is responsible for 1 in 5 U.S. deaths and costs the economy at least $100 billion in health care costs and lost productivity. The U.S. Surgeon General has warned that tobacco use is the major preventable cause of lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, emphysema, and many other health problems.

We know it’s not easy to quit smoking, tobacco or vaping.

  • Nicotine is a powerful addiction.
  • Quitting is hard, but don’t give up.
  • Many people try two or three times before they quit for good.
  • Each time you try to quit, the more likely you will be to succeed.

Good reasons for quitting:

  • You will live longer and live healthier.
  • The people you live with, especially your children, will be healthier.
  • You will have more energy and breathe easier.
  • You will lower your risk of a heart attack, stroke, or cancer.

Tips to help you quit:

  • Get rid of ALL cigarettes and ashtrays in your home, car, or workplace.
  • Ask your family, friends and co-workers for support.
  • Stay in nonsmoking areas.
  • Breathe in deeply when you feel the urge to smoke.
  • Be prepared with substitutes for trigger situations — stock up on gum, mints, or hard candies.
  • Keep yourself busy.
  • Reward yourself often.

Quit and save yourself money:

  • Depending on brand, vaping can cost as much if not more than smoking and other tobacco products.

How to quit smoking, tobacco, and vaping

By considering these five points, you’ll be able to create a strategy for how to quit smoking, tobacco, and vaping:

1. Get ready.

Set a date to quit and stick to it. It may be helpful to cut down on the number of cigarettes you smoke each day for a week or two before your quit date.

2. Line up a support system.

Tell your family, friends and coworkers you are quitting. Discuss your decision with your doctor or other health care provider.

3. Learn new behaviors.

When you first quit, try changing your daily routine. Doing things differently may distract you from urges to smoke or chew. Plan something enjoyable to do each day to reward yourself and reduce your stress level.

4. Get medication.

Talk with your health care provider about which medication would work best for you.

5. Be prepared for relapse.

Many people have to “practice” quitting a few times before they break the habit for good.

Quit smoking timeline

Once you quit smoking, your body will begin to recover almost immediately. Here’s a general timeline of how your body will benefit from quitting smoking:

After one hour

As quickly as 20 minutes after you smoke your last cigarette, your heart rate will return to normal, your blood pressure will lower, and your circulation may start to improve.

After 12 hours

During this time, your body will begin to cleanse itself of the excess carbon monoxide it accumulated from the cigarettes. When your body’s carbon monoxide levels return to normal, oxygen levels will increase.

After one day

Just 24 hours after quitting smoking, your blood pressure will begin to drop, decreasing your risk of heart disease. You’ll also be able to breathe easier during exercise and physical activity.

After one month

During this time, your lung function will begin to improve. You’ll likely experience less coughing and shortness of breath. As a result, athletic endurance will increase.

After one year

At this point, your risk of coronary disease will decrease by half and will continue to decrease.

After five years

Five years after quitting smoking, your arteries and blood vessels will begin to widen. This widening means you’ll be less prone to blood clots, lowering your risk of stroke.

After 10 years

After a decade without cigarettes, your chances of developing lung, mouth, throat, or pancreatic cancer are significantly reduced.

After 20 years

At this point, your risk of death from smoking-related causes decreases to the level of a person who has never smoked in their life.

Helpful medications

There are several medications that can ease the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and help you quit using tobacco or vaping. Ask your physician for advice about which medication is right for you.

Nicotine patch

The patch releases a steady amount of nicotine into the body over time. It should not be used if you are pregnant or nursing and may not be appropriate if you have a heart condition.

Nicotine gum

Nicotine gum contains enough nicotine to reduce the urge to smoke. Gum users may gradually wean themselves off the gum over the course of three months. Nicotine gum should not be used if you are pregnant or nursing and may not be appropriate if you have a heart condition.

Nicotine inhaler

The nicotine inhaler consists of a plastic cylinder containing a cartridge that delivers nicotine when you puff on it. Although similar in appearance to a cigarette, the inhaler delivers nicotine into the mouth, not the lung, and the nicotine enters the body much more slowly than the nicotine in cigarettes. The nicotine inhaler is available only by prescription.

Nicotine nasal spray

Nicotine nasal spray delivers nicotine to the nasal membranes. Nicotine from sprays reaches the bloodstream faster than any other NRT products. It is available by prescription

Bupropion (Zyban)

This non-nicotine pill was approved in 1997 to help smokers quit. The drug, available by prescription only, is also sold as an antidepressant under the name Wellbutrin.

Quit smoking, tobacco, and vaping: support groups and resources

A variety of tools, from information to one-on-one counseling to support groups, are available to assist you in your decision to stop using tobacco products, including vapes. Try contacting one of the following organizations for additional information, suggestions, and support:

PA Department of Health Quitline

Tobacco Free Allegheny

American Cancer Society

American Heart Association


American Lung Association

1-800-LUNG-USA 1-800-586-4872 •

American Respiratory Alliance

National Cancer Institute


Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Nicotine Anonymous