Health & Safety Guidelines  »  Staying Well

Not using tobacco (smoking, chewing, etc.) is one of the best things you can do for your health. Why? Using tobacco products is linked to many serious illnesses:

  1. Cancers of the lungs, mouth, throat, bladder, cervix, kidney, and stomach, as well as, a certain type of leukemia.

  2. Heart disease, emphysema, pneumonia, and abdominal aortic aneurysm.

  3. Cataracts, gum disease, and tooth decay.

Ways to Quit Using Tobacco

  1. Use an OTC nicotine replacement product, such as a patch, gum, or lozenges. Use as directed.

  2. Talk to your doctor about prescribed medicines. Some contain nicotine. Others do not contain nicotine, but alter brain chemistry to help reduce cravings.

To increase your chances of success, take part in a stop smoking class and/or use the behavior change techniques that follow.

  1. Throw away all your cigarettes, cigars, etc. Hide all smoking items like matches, lighters, ashtrays, etc.

  2. Whenever you have an urge to smoke, dip, or chew, take a deep breath through your mouth. Slowly exhale through pursed lips. Repeat 5 to10 times.

  3. Get rid of familiar tobacco triggers. Change your daily routine. Do things you don’t associate with tobacco use.

  4. In place of cigarettes, snuff, etc., use other things that will give oral gratification (e.g., sugarless gum, mints, and toothpicks).

  5. Create a “ciggy bank.” Put the money you used to spend on cigarettes, cigars, etc. in a jar. Buy yourself a reward.

  6. Place a rubber band on your wrist. Snap it when you get an urge to smoke, dip, or chew.

  7. Talk to a nonsmoking friend for support.

  8. Make a list of good things you’ve noticed since you quit.

  9. Each day, renew your commitment to not use tobacco products.

Medications That Can Help

Some tobacco users who are addicted to nicotine find it easier to quit smoking using nicotine reduction therapy. This includes using a nicotine patch (e.g., Nicoderm, Nicotrol), a nicotine gum (e.g., Nicorette), or nicotine lozenges (e.g., Commit). These little doses of nicotine let them reduce their nicotine cravings and wean themselves from tobacco with less anxiety and irritability. The patch, gum, and lozenges are available over-the-counter. A nicotine nasal spray (e.g., Nicotrol NS) and a nicotine inhaler (e.g., Nicotrol) are available by prescription.

Other prescribed medications, such as Chantix and Zyban, do not contain nicotine, but alters brain chemistry to help reduce tobacco cravings.

Also, studies have shown that combining a stop smoking medication with behavior modification greatly increases your chances for success. Get help and step-by-step guides to quit from the Web site listed below.


American Lung Association

800.LUNG.USA (586-4872)

National Cancer Institute’s Smoking Quitline

877.44U.QUIT (448.7848)