Smoking cessation expert offers tips for smokers trying to quit

January 2, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—With a New Year approaching and healthy lifestyle choices topping the list of personal resolutions, millions of smokers across New York State and more throughout the U.S. will attempt to quit smoking. Making an effort to stop smoking is an appropriate one given World Health Organization estimates that smoking contributes to five million deaths each year.

Smokers who are considering quitting as part of a new year's resolution may also be giving the most precious gift possible to their children and grandchildren. A recent study in Great Britain revealed that of those children who have parents that smoke, more than 50 percent say their one wish for Christmas is for their parents to stop . In addition, more than 73 percent of those children frequently worry about their parent(s) dying.

"Quitting smoking is the best decision anyone can make to improve their overall health," said Scott McIntosh, Ph.D., director of the Greater Rochester Area Center and associate director of the Smoking Research Program at  the Department of Public Health Sciencesat the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). But McIntosh stresses that having a plan in place is essential to being successful to one's efforts.

"Research shows that if a person makes a plan, builds a support system of family, friends and professionals, that they have a greater chance of successfully quitting smoking and beating ," said McIntosh, who also serves as an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences and URMC's James P. Wilmot Cancer Center.

McIntosh offers 12 simple tips for quitting:

1.      Make a plan for quitting. Talk to your doctor about strategies such as quitting "" versus or other medication therapies.

2.      If you can give up cigarettes for 24 hours, you may learn something important to help you when you plan to quit for good.

3.       Tell your friends, family and co-workers that you plan to quit and rally them to help you stick with it.

4.      Consider using approved medications – nicotine gum, patch, lozenges, spray, inhaler, Chantix or Zyban – to help you quit.

5.      Use resources available from the New York State Smokers' Quitline: 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) and, the New York Smokers' Quitsite.

6.      Use local resources (covered by Medicaid and many insurance plans) at the Healthy Living Center, which provides individual counseling and a quitting plan with tobacco dependence counselors and medical staff: (585) 530-2050.

7.      Remove all ashtrays, lighters, matches and cigarettes from the house. Just seeing them can make you want to smoke.

8.      Start eating sugarless hard candy or chewing crunchy vegetables – like carrot sticks – to keep your mouth busy. Consider using cinnamon candy, because its "burning" sensation mimics the feeling of smoking and kills the craving.

9.      Drink a lot of water. It helps keep you feeling "full," and prevents you from overeating and gaining weight. It also helps "cleanse" your body of the toxins from years of smoking.

10. Practice breathing deeply or take a walk when you're craving a cigarette. Smoking involves taking long deep breaths, but now it'll be fresh air rather than chemicals entering your lungs.

11. Remind yourself why you are quitting - and reward yourself every day you make it without smoking cigarettes.

12. Age doesn't matter - older smokers are less likely to try to quit, but when they do try, they are more likely to succeed.

"Using approved medicines can help and talking to experts can help – and using both strategies can even further improve your chances of quitting for good," McIntosh said. "Within just 24 hours, the carbon monoxide – which hinders blood from bringing oxygen to your cells, tissues and organs – will be removed from your body, and the mucus and smoking debris will start to clear from your lungs, making breathing easier.

The New York State Smokers' Quitline  is also prepared to assist the more than two million smokers in New York State who say they want to quit. 

The Quitline offers a free nicotine patch starter kit, coaching tips for quitting, self-help materials, and motivational messages. The Quitline can be reached at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., and Friday through Sunday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  Additional support is available through a 24/7  online smoke-free community at , and additional tips and resources can be found at and .

Explore further: URMC smoking cessation expert offers tips for smokers trying to quit

Related Stories

URMC smoking cessation expert offers tips for smokers trying to quit

January 5, 2012
With the start of a New Year, millions of smokers across New York State and more throughout the U.S. will attempt to quit smoking. Quitting smoking is a popular resolution, and an appropriate one given World Health Organization ...

Fake cigarettes increase success rate for quitting smoking

May 12, 2011
Nicotine-free plastic inhalers may increase a smoker's chance of quitting, according to new research published online in the European Respiratory Journal.

GLBT adults twice as likely to smoke, half as likely to have plans to quit

February 8, 2012
Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered adults who smoke are not thinking about quitting or getting ready to quit, and a quarter are uncomfortable approaching their doctors for help, report University of Colorado Cancer ...

Stopping smoking is hard despite success of smoke-free legislation

April 20, 2012
The successful implementation of smokefree legislation in Hong Kong has led to an overall decrease in the total number of smokers but the remaining smokers who are finding it difficult to quit are going on to become "hardcore" ...

Review confirms value of combined approach to quitting smoking

October 17, 2012
Smokers who try to quit would be more successful if they combined medication or nicotine-replacement therapy with behavioral counseling, finds a new review in The Cochrane Library. Few lifestyle changes deliver as many positive ...

Recommended for you

Marijuana use amongst youth stable, but substance abuse admissions up

August 15, 2017
While marijuana use amongst youth remains stable, youth admission to substance abuse treatment facilities has increased, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Report reveals underground US haven for heroin, drug users

August 8, 2017
A safe haven where drug users inject themselves with heroin and other drugs has been quietly operating in the United States for the past three years, a report reveals.

Regular energy drink use linked to later drug use among young adults

August 8, 2017
Could young adults who regularly consume highly caffeinated energy drinks be at risk for future substance use? A new study by University of Maryland School of Public Health researchers, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol ...

Gamblers more likely to have suffered childhood traumas, research shows

August 2, 2017
Men with problem and pathological gambling addictions are more likely to have suffered childhood traumas including physical abuse or witnessing violence in the home, according to new research.

Incorporating 12-step program elements improves youth substance-use disorder treatment

July 26, 2017
A treatment program for adolescents with substance-use disorder that incorporates the practices and philosophy of 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) produced even better results than the current state-of-the ...

Concern with potential rise in super-potent cannabis concentrates

July 21, 2017
University of Queensland researchers are concerned the recent legalisation of medicinal cannabis in Australia may give rise to super-potent cannabis concentrates with associated harmful effects.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.