Faculty Development
USF Health

Health and Wellness: Smoking Cessation

There are several things you can do to kick the habit and break the nicotine addiction.

  • Cold Turkey: Often viewed as a better way to quit rather than cutting back slowly.
  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy: Nicotine gum, patches, nasal sprays, and lozenges can double your chances of quitting for good. They help with the nicotine craving.
  • Non-Nicotine Therapy: Some people find a medication called Buproprion SR (brand name: Wellbutrin SR and Zyban) helps them to stop smoking.
  • Behavior Therapy: Treatment aimed at changing your smoking behaviors.

After you have decided to quit smoking, the next step is to make a plan. You may want to discuss you decision with a health care provider or smoking cessation clinic to discuss your options. After you have set a quit date, follow the following 5-day plan.

Quit Day minus 5
List all your reasons for quitting and tell your friends and family about your plan. Stop buying cartons of cigarettes.

Quit Day minus 4
Pay attention to when you smoke and why you smoke. Think of new ways to relax or think of different things you can hold in our hand instead of a cigarette. Think of habits or routines you might want to change. Write down the list.

Quit Day minus 3
Make a list of the things you could do with the extra money you will save by not buying cigarettes. Think of who to reach out to when you need help to keep you from smoking.

Quit Day minus 2
Buy over-the-counter nicotine patch or nicotine gum (or get a prescription for other medications). Clean all your clothes, house, and car to get rid of the smell of cigarettes.

Quit Day minus 1
Think of a reward for yourself after you quit. Make an appointment with your dentist to have your teeth cleaned. At the end of the day, throw away all cigarettes. Put away all ashtrays and lighters.

Quit Day
Keep very busy. Change your routing. Remind family and friends of your plan to stop smoking. Buy yourself a treat (avoid alcohol) or do something to celebrate.

Quit Day plus 1
Congratulate yourself. When a craving hits, do something that is not connected with smoking like taking a walk, drinking a glass of water, or taking some deep breaths. Call your support network. Find things to snack on like carrots, sugarless gum, or healthy items.

Have Cravings? Here are some tips for the first week.

  • Drink a lot of liquid, especially water. Try herbal teas or fruit juices. Limit coffee, soft drinks, or alcohol as they can increase your urge to smoke.
  • Avoid sugar and fatty foods. Try low-calorie foods for snacking like carrots or other vegetables, sugarless gum, air-popped popcorn, low-fat cottage cheese. Don't skip meals.
  • Exercise regularly and moderately. Regular exercise helps. Joining an exercise group provides healthy activity and helps create a new routine.
  • Get more sleep. Try going to bed earlier and getting more rest.
  • Take deep breaths. Distract yourself. When a craving hits, do something else immediately such as talking to someone, getting busy with a task, or taking deep breaths.
  • Change your habits. Use a different route to work, eat breakfast in a different place or get up right away after you finish eating.
  • Reduce your stress. Take a hot shower or bath, read a book, listen to relaxing music, watch a funny movie, or exercise.
  • Avoid Alcohol. It lowers your chance for success.


Additional Resources

You may want to contact these organizations for further information on smoking and how to quit.

For general information:

American Heart Association
7272 Greenville Avenue
Dallas, TX 75231
(800) AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

American Cancer Society
1599 Clifton Road, NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
(404) 320-3333

American Lung Association
1740 Broadway, 14th Floor
New Your, NY 10019
(212) 315-8700

National Cancer Institute
Bethesda, MD 20892
(800) 4-CANCER (422-6237)

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024
(202) 638-5577