Talking with your care team
Smoking is a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease, cancer and other serious conditions. That’s why it’s important for your health care team to know if you 1) currently smoke, 2) ever smoked (when and for how long) and/or 3) live with or are around people who smoke regularly. Be honest about how often you smoke and your feelings about quitting.
Your health care providers can help you kick the habit by giving you tools and local resources. They can also tell you what to expect. Here are some questions you might want to ask about quitting:
I’ve been smoking for _____ years. Will it make any difference to my health if I quit after so long?
What can I do to be successful in quitting? Are there local resources that can help?
What challenges should I be ready for when it comes to quitting and resisting the urge to smoke?
What about withdrawal symptoms? What are they like and can they be managed?
Should I take a medicine or try to quit on my own? What’s the difference between the over-the-counter and prescription options? Is one better for me?
Are there other resources to help me quit or cope with any urges to light up again?
How long does it usually take to quit?
What if I relapse?
Find out what to expect
If you are gearing up to quit smoking, you may worry what’s going to happen and what to expect. It’s important to talk with your health care provider about your plans and concerns before you attempt to stop smoking. He or she can help you prepare to quit.
Ask about local smoking cessation programs and discuss ways to limit withdrawal symptoms—side effects that can happen when your body is no longer getting a steady dose of nicotine. These symptoms can include headaches, intense cravings or difficulty concentrating, or feeling anxious, irritable, or restless.
You might also want to seek out and talk with a former smoker who successfully quit the habit for extra support!
2014 Surgeon General’s Report
Resources for quitting
For help to quit smoking, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or go to smokefree.gov
American Heart Association
"Why Quit Smoking"
Also includes a calculator that computes the monthly and yearly cost of smoking.
American Lung Association
"I Want to Quit"
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
including tips from former smokers
Published: January 2017
Medical Reviewers: Kelly M. Bartsch, PharmD, BCPS, CLS; Martha Gulati, MD, MS, FACC, FAHA, FASPC, Editor-in Chief of CardioSmart; Kathleen M. Love, MD, FACC