Kicking the Habit

Because nicotine is so addictive, the best way to avoid the trouble of trying to quit smoking or stop using e cigs is never to start.

If you smoke and want to quit, e cigarettes probably aren’t your best option. Using an e cigarette mimics the experience of smoking tobacco cigarettes more closely than other quitting options, like nicotine gum or patches. You don’t want to successfully give up smoking only to find you’re now hooked on e cigarettes.

If you’ve already tried using e cigs and think you might be getting dependent on nicotine, you’ll need to follow the same steps for quitting as you would with tobacco

  • Make a specific plan. Set a date to begin the quitting process. If you smoke cigarettes, try going cold turkey before relying on e cigarettes to help. If that doesn’t work, it’s time for a plan to wean yourself off nicotine. Make a specific goal, like using one less e cigarette each day for a week. Keep cutting back until you no longer smoke or vape.
  • Stay busy. Take your mind off cigarettes by exercising or doing something that involves your hands, like art, music, knitting, or woodworking. Stay aware of specific times and situations that make you want cigarettes (like at a party or after a meal), and come up with a plan to handle those times.
  • Delay giving in to a craving. When you crave a cigarette or e cig, put off giving in to the urge. It can be easier to tell yourself to “wait” than to tell yourself ‘”no.” Do something else to take your mind off the craving. Chances are, the urge will pass, and congratulations that means one less cigarette!
  • Keep focused on why you want to quit. Write down all the reasons you want to stop using cigarettes or e cigarettes, like the money you’ll save or the extra energy you’ll have. Keep the list where you can see it. Read it every day, even though you already know the reasons. Doing this helps your brain automatically remind you of a reason when you feel a strong craving.
  • Get support. Turn to your family or a trusted adult for moral support when you really want a cigarette. It also helps strengthen your resolve to tell other people that you are quitting. If you don’t want friends and family to know you smoke or use e cigs, join an online or in person support group. See if friends will join you in quitting. If not, ask them not to smoke or use e cigarettes in front of you.
  • Be good to yourself. Some people use e cigs to avoid harming friends and family with secondhand smoke. But you’re still hurting them by harming someone they love you. Be your own best friend and give yourself praise each time you avoid reaching for the e cigs.

Nicotine is an addictive drug. It’s almost never easy to quit using it once you’ve started. The best strategy is to never start in the first place. If it’s too late for that, remind yourself that it is possible to quit. Other people succeed, and so can you!

Reviewed by Elana Pearl Ben Joseph, MD
Date reviewed October 2013

Smoking – national cancer institute

On line cigarettes – european made cigarette sales.
Smoking Quitline
Talk with an NCI smoking cessation counselor for help quitting and answers to smoking related questions in English or Spanish call toll free within the United States, Monday through Friday 8 00 a.m. to 8 00 p.m. Eastern Time.
1 877 44U QUIT (1 877 448 7848)

LiveHelp Online Chat
Get information and advice about quitting smoking through a confidential online text chat with an information specialist from NCI’s Cancer Information Service Monday through Friday, 8 00 a.m. to 11 00 p.m. Eastern Time LiveHelp


This website offers science driven tools, information, and support that have been effective in helping smokers quit

Smokefree Women
Try the Smokefree Women website for information on how to quit smoking. The site covers smoking related topics that are often important to women, such as weight management and stress, and tells how to contact experts and find other resources.

Smokefree Teen
The Smokefree Teen website was developed specifically to help teen smokers quit and offers tailored information, several social media pages to connect teens with cessation tools, and a free smartphone application.

News

The Health Consequences of Smoking 50 Years of Progress A Report of the Surgeon General, 2014
This website links to the full 2014 Surgeon General’s report and to other related resources, including summaries, fact sheets, videos, podcasts, and more.

Tobacco FactsTobacco use is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the United States. It causes many different cancers as well as chronic lung diseases, such as emphysema and bronchitis, and heart disease.

  • Cigarette smoking causes an estimated 443,000 deaths each year, including approximately 49,000 deaths due to exposure to secondhand smoke.

  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women in the United States, and 90 percent of lung cancer deaths among men and approximately 80 percent of lung cancer deaths among women are due to smoking.
  • Smoking causes many other types of cancer, including cancers of the throat, mouth, nasal cavity, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, and cervix, and acute myeloid leukemia.
  • People who smoke are up to six times more likely to suffer a heart attack than nonsmokers, and the risk increases with the number of cigarettes smoked. Smoking also causes most cases of chronic lung disease.
  • In 2011, an estimated 19 percent of U.S. adults were cigarette smokers.
  • Nearly 16 percent of high school students smoke cigarettes.
    (See Tobacco Statistics Snapshot for references for this information.)

More Information about Tobacco Use