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How to Get Started

Congratulations! You have decided to quit smoking. 

There are things you can do to get ready and better your chances of success.

Get information. The more information you have about the quitting process, quit tips, quit medications and ways to stay quit, the more likely you are to quit for good. Knowledge gives you power. Many people try to quit 'cold turkey' or just give up cigarettes on a whim. The problem with this is, when cravings get tough, they haven't got a strategy for what to do. They relapse. Information gives you a plan on how to manage the process and prevent relapse.


Think of quitting as a gift to yourself. It is a big deal. You deserve to get help and support. You have friends and family who can help you through this process. Reach out for support. Tell people about your plans to quit and ask how they can help cheer you on in the process. Research shows that support from friends and family predicts who will be successful in quitting. In fact, increasing social support in a smoker's environment can increase long-term successful quitting by 50 percent!


Develop a quit plan. The more creative and advanced your plan, the more likely you are to succeed.


Figure out the right quitting medication for you. Speak with your doctor about which medication is right for you.


Learn about the differences between a slip and a relapse. Knowing what to do immediately when you have a slip can stop a complete relapse. Also, knowing your red flags, or the things that can trigger a relapse, can prevent you from going back to smoking. You can learn how to stop a relapse before it happens! Learn about slip vs. relapse.


Reward your successes. Knowing how to reward yourself for each step in the process makes it more likely you will stick with it. Reward yourself often. You deserve to pat yourself on the back for each step along the way. Your friends and family can help you to reward yourself if you have a hard time doing that. Ask them to cheer you on and give you encouragement when you are struggling.



Fiore MC, Jaén CR, Baker TB, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence:  2008 Update.  Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. May 2008.



This information has been approved by Amy Lukowski, PsyD (August 2015).