I Quit! (A Stop-Smoking Resource For Teens)
What To Do When You're Sick Of Smoking, Chewing Or Dipping
Are you sick of:
- Coughing all the time?
- Smelling like an ashtray?
- Spending your money on cigarettes, chew or dip?
- Hurting your health?
- People hassling you about smoking, chewing or dipping?
- Screwing up your life... ?????
If so, you are ready to Quit!
How To Quit
Getting Ready To Quit:
- Set a "quit date".
- Tell everybody when you're going to stop smoking.
The Day You Quit:
- Throw away all your cigarettes, lighters and ashtrays.
- You will feel the urge to smoke, but it usually passes in 2 - 3 minutes. When you feel the urge, do something else. Take deep breaths and let them out slowly. Drink a glass of water. Distract Yourself.
- Carry things to put in your mouth, like gum, hard candy or toothpicks.
- Keep busy: Go to the movies, ride your bike, walk the dog, play video games, call a friend.
- Go to places where you're not allowed to smoke, like the movies or the mall.
Coping With Withdrawal From Nicotine ('The Crazies')
The First Few Days...
- The first few days after you quit, don't hang around people and places where you used to smoke. If your family or friends smoke, ask them not to:
- smoke around you
- offer you cigarettes
- leave cigarettes where you can find them
- tease you about not smoking
- Turn your room into a "no smoking zone", especially if your family smokes.
- Spend a lot of time in places where you're not allowed to smoke.
- Drink lots of water and fruit juice, but don't drink anything with caffeine in it, like soda, coffee or tea. When you quit smoking, you may have to put up with some stuff like bad nerves and crabbiness for awhile. That's because tobacco contains nicotine -- a drug -- and smokers get hooked on nicotine. When you quit, your body craves nicotine and you feel withdrawal symptoms (otherwise known as 'The Crazies').
Withdrawal usually last for 1 - 2 weeks after you quit. After that, your body begins to forget about nicotine and you start feeling better. For some people -- like heavy smokers -- the Crazies may be tougher and last longer. Even after your withdrawal symptoms are gone, there will be times you'll still want to smoke. That's because nicotine is a powerful addiction. Even after you quit, you can get hooked again with just a few cigarettes. The only way to be safe is to become a nonsmoker -- for good.
General Coping Tips
- Feeling Grouchy or Nervous? - Try exercising. Walk the dog. Keep busy. Distract yourself.
- Have Headaches or Dizziness? - Take deep breaths. Exercise.
- Feeling Tired? - Take naps and get plenty of rest.
- Have a Dry Mouth or Sore Throat? - Drink cold water or juice. Chew gum.
- Feeling Depressed? - You may get really depressed and feel like crying. These feelings will pass. Until they do, call a friend or someone else who understands.
- Pigging Out On Food? - When people quit smoking, they need something else to do, so they eat.
- Eat regular meals. Don't just eat whatever or whenever you feel like it.
- Don't eat lots of candy and sweet stuff. Try sugarless gum, fresh fruit, popcorn and vegetable sticks.
- Drink extra water, especially at meals.
- Keep active -- take walks, shoot baskets, ride your bike.
If you don't want to gain weight, try these things:
The Crazies are a pain, but they only last a little while. And they're better than dying from something like lung cancer or a heart attack. Even if smoking doesn't kill you, it'll probably make you sick with emphysema or other diseases.
If you try all the tips listed here and are still having trouble quitting, talk to your doctor about whether using nicotine gum or the patch would be right for you.
Quiting For Good
Lots of people quit smoking for a few days, but it's harder to stay off cigarettes for good. Remember, lots of other people have quit for good, and you can too! Here's what you need to do to really beat smoking.
Don't pull the triggers. All smokers have "triggers," certain times and places that make them want to smoke. For you, it may be leaving school or hanging out with friends. Learn what your smoking triggers are and try to avoid them. Or figure out how to get through them without smoking.
Plan ways to handle stress. When you get stressed, you may want to reach for a cigarette. Think of things you can do instead of smoking when stress hits -- like chewing gum or taking deep breaths.
If you blow it, try again. All smokers have trouble quitting, and most of them will blow it and smoke once in a while. Some people have to quit several times before they stop for good. If you blow it, you're not a failure. Quit again!
Pat yourself on the back. When you quit, you're doing something great and you deserve a reward! Treat yourself to a movie or a new tape or something else -- and pay for it with the money you used to spend on cigarettes.
Sometimes it's easier to quit when you have help. If you want help, talk to your guidance counselor or school nurse, your family doctor, or someone who has already quit smoking, like a friend or family member. For more information, contact:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Cancer Information Service
Local Chapters of your American Cancer Society
American Heart Association and American Lung Association
This Text developed by the Anne Arundel County Department of Health in Annapolis, Maryland. Published by CDC. Edited by Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. (2/11/2003) For CenterSite, LLC