We won’t kid you—it may be hard. But people do it every day, so it is possible. People tell us how proud they are to accomplish something so major in their lives and that the difficulty was worth it. This guide will help you learn more about what to expect and decide if quitting right now is good for you.
COMMON QUESTIONS WHEN DECIDING WHETHER TO QUIT
It’s true, they won’t be there when you quit. Using new ways to cope with stress, restlessness, boredom, and other trigger situations is the key. Find something fulfilling to do, such as a hobby you enjoy, to help ease you into your new lifestyle.
The average weight gain is 10 lbs after quitting smoking. People who quit vapes or smokeless tobacco could have similar gains. However, you can prevent this. Make a plan to replace your tobacco use with an activity (take a walk, plant some flowers, start a new hobby). Also, stock up on healthy snacks or gum prior to quitting.
Quitting may make you irritable—many people get moody when they aren’t getting what they want. With a good plan, including an active routine, you’ll be prepared to manage bad moods. As with most withdrawal symptoms, by the end of the first week or two you should be feeling less and less irritated
Depending on what you want for yourself and for the people around you, this can be a good step. Many people don’t smoke or vape in their homes because they’re concerned about others. This concern can be a strong motivator. Plus, you can increase your chance of quitting by cutting down, especially when you have set a quit date OR especially when you are working toward a quit date.
No. There is no “magic bullet.” Your motivation, combined with solid planning, is what will carry you through. Later on we will explore some options that could make quitting easier for you. But, there is really only one thing that will “make” you quit: you.
There are about 600 ingredients in cigarettes. When burned, they create 7,000+ chemicals. Ingredients vary across vape devices and smokeless tobacco, however, many contain toxic chemicals and metals.
|Acetone||nail polish remover||X|
|Acetic acid||hair dye||X|
|Acrolein||powerful irritant linked to lung & heart disease||X||X|
|Carbon monoxide||car exhaust||X|
|Diacetyl||chemical flavoring linked to serious lung disease||X|
|Diethylene glycol||antifreeze, brake fluid, some dyes||X|
|Nitrosamines||found in some drugs to treat blood pressure||X|
|Propylene glycol||synthetic food additive||X|
|Toluene||crude oil, paints, lacquers, explosives, glues||X|
Smoking can cause serious health problems like cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and stroke.
Things in tobacco smoke that cause damage:¹
• Nicotine: Narrows blood vessels, speeds heart rate, and makes blood thicker, which can cause clotting
• Carbon monoxide: Cuts oxygen flow to the heart, brain, and other tissues
• Tars: Solids that can irritate and damage organs
Other health concerns
• Cough and phlegm: Coughing and breathing problems from mucus build-up
• Fertility: Decreased fertility in women and men
• Impotence: Not able to get or maintain an erection (erectile dysfunction)
• Healing: Wounds take longer to heal
• Immune system: Harder to fight sickness
Scientists are still learning about the long-term health effects of vapes. Here is what we know now. Source: CDC.gov
Vapes are not safe for youth, young adults or pregnant women. Vape aerosol that users breath from the device and exhale can contain harmful substances including:
• Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs
• Flavoring such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease
• Volatile organic compounds
• Cancer-causing chemicals
• Heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead
Chew contains at least 28 chemicals that can cause the following health problems:
• Cancer of the mouth, tongue, cheek, gum, throat and pancreas.
• Mouth Lesions. About 3 out of 4 daily smokeless tobacco users have leukoplakia, white patches in the mouth that can cause cancer.
• Heart Disease. Nicotine in chew can make heart rate and blood pressure go up, which can lead to heart disease.
• Gum Disease. Even with regular dental care, chew can cause tooth loss, receding gums, stained teeth and bad breath.
• Cavities. Chew contains a lot of sugar that can weaken teeth and cause cavities.
Tobacco smoke, vape aerosol, and smokeless tobacco all contain chemicals that are harmful to pregnant women and young children. There is no risk-free level of secondhand exposure to these products.
Over half of California’s kids are exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke, which contains about 70 cancer-causing chemicals. 1
If you smoke around infants and young children, the risks go up for:
If you smoke when pregnant, the risks go up for:
Vaping is on the rise, especially among youth. The U.S. Surgeon General states that while vapes generally emit fewer toxic chemicals than cigarettes, the aerosol that is emitted from these devices is not just water vapor. Most is a mixture of nicotine, tiny particles of heavy metals, and chemicals. Vape aerosol, like cigarette smoke, contains ultrafine particles, which settle deeply into the lungs when inhaled by people using it or near it.2
Vapes contain e-liquid that comes in thousands of flavors, many of which appeal to kids, like bubble gum and grape. These sweet flavors may tempt kids to drink the e-liquid or put vapes in their mouth.
When you smoke or vape, nicotine enters the bloodstream and reaches the brain within seconds. Nicotine causes a release of “feel good” chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters.
The problem is, after repeated nicotine use, the brain becomes used to the increase in neurotransmitters. This is when you start to use nicotine just to feel normal.
When you take nicotine away, the brain doesn’t get the neurotransmitter activity it’s used to getting. This causes discomfort. For some people it results in irritability, sadness, depression, and other withdrawal symptoms.
Just as the brain learns to respond to nicotine, it can learn to respond to different cues—it can learn other ways to make you feel good without addiction and dependency. For some, this means eating healthy meals, meditating, listening to music, or getting more physically active. What will it mean for you?
Motivation is what drives you to act. For instance, when you’re tired, you are motivated to sleep. Have you ever felt out of breath after going up a flight of stairs or have trouble paying bills? Wanting to breathe easier or to save money are examples of motivation to quit.
Identify your reasons to use and your reasons to quit. Looking at both sides and writing down reasons for each will allow you to see which way you’re leaning.
It’s not how many reasons there are, but how meaningful those reasons are to you. You can decide whether your motivation is strong enough by considering the pros and cons.
Make Family & Friends Proud
Listen to a Doctor
Take Back Control
Set a Good Example
Look & Feel Better
Feel More Accepted Socially
Think in terms of small goals. These are easier to reach than one huge goal. Try quitting for only one day as practice.
Listen to what you say to others and to yourself about quitting. Do you hear yourself saying, “I can’t do it”? Make yourself say, “I can. My reasons are strong. I can quit.”
Talk to others who’ve quit about their experiences. How did they do it? Did they go cold turkey or use a quitting aid? How did they handle difficult situations, stress and boredom? Maybe the same things will work for you. Talk with a Kick It California Quit Coach to get answers to questions you may have. Chat or Call
It may be hard to imagine yourself without cigarettes, vapes or chew. So, think of a time when you’ve made other hard changes or started a new phase of your life, like going to college, getting a new job, getting married, or having a baby. Remind yourself that change typically takes a little time to get used to, but you’ve done it before and you can do it again.
At the same time there may be lots of reasons to put it off. Many people worry about being around other people who use, and how they’ll handle stress, irritability or withdrawal. Here are some things to consider so that these situations don’t get in the way of your decision to quit.
Other people who smoke, vape or chew
|Coughing/Throat & Nasal Problems||Headaches||Lack of Concentration||Dizziness|
|Nervousness/Anxiety||Depressions/Mood Swings||Hunger/Sweet Tooth||Tightness in Chest|
You can make a plan by thinking about the challenges you’ll face when you quit and how you’ll deal with them.
Predict trigger situations.
Find coping strategies.
How do you stay quit?