Why should I quit smoking?
The decision to quit smoking is the most important step you can take to improve your overall health. It is NEVER too late to quit. By quitting smoking, you can:
- Lengthen your life expectancy
- Decrease your risk of disease (including lung cancer, throat cancer, emphysema, heart disease, high blood pressure, ulcers and reflux, erectile and sexual dysfunction, kidney disease, and other conditions)
- Reduce your risk of respiratory and anesthesia complications during surgery and risk of infection or re-admission after an operation
- Decrease the chance that your children will become sick (respiratory and ear infections are much more common among children exposed to secondhand smoke)
- Feel healthier (after quitting, you won’t cough as much, have as many sore throats or stuffy noses, and will have an increased energy level and exercise tolerance)
- Improve your sense of taste and smell
- Improve your personal life (smoking causes erectile dysfunction and overall sexual dysfunction)
- Improve your looks (smoking cause wrinkles, stained teeth, and dull skin)
- Save money – a 1 pack-per-day habit costs $2,200/year
What’s the best way to quit smoking?
There is no best way to quit smoking. Everyone has different smoking patterns, habits, levels of addiction, and preferences. What works best for one person may have little impact on someone else. For this reason, the best smoking cessation programs offer several proven methods, not just one.
The Cleveland Clinic Tobacco Treatment Center offers a variety of methods to help people who want to become nonsmokers. Our program offers:
- An individualized treatment plan. A certified tobacco specialist determines how dependent you are on nicotine, how ready you are to quit, and your preferred method of learning. The specialist will develop a treatment plan specifically designed for you to give you the best chance of quitting successfully.
- Use of a combination of medications and behavioral therapy. Your treatment plan includes the latest tobacco treatment medications such as bupropion, varenicline, and/or nicotine replacement therapies (e.g., nicotine gum or the patch). Behavior therapies include exercise, reading material, and individual or group counseling.
- Follow-up. The tobacco treatment specialist follows up on your progress, offers tips and celebrates your successes. Cleveland Clinic Tobacco Cessation specialists developed the PQRS strategy to help you quit:
- PREPARE: You need a little time before you quit –14 to 30 days is usually optimal – to prime your mind and body for success.
- QUIT: Anti-craving drugs and/or nicotine replacement therapy will lessen your urge to smoke. Resources are available to help you on your journey to a tobacco-free life.
- RELAPSE PREVENTION: Develop the ability to identify situations that may cause you to slip and learn new skills to prevent relapse.
- STRESS MANAGEMENT: Find alternatives to reaching for tobacco to cope with stress. Tobacco actually INCREASES the stress on your body – it increases heart rate, blood pressure, and constricts blood vessels, making your heart, kidneys, and other vital organs work harder.
What's the next step?
Being ready and wanting to quit is the most important part. You need to decide to give yourself the most precious gift a smoker can give to him or herself – a gift of life, health, and self-esteem – by becoming a nonsmoker. Treatment costs less than a pack of cigarettes a day, and varies based on the personalized plan developed for each individual and his or her ability to pay.