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5 Steps to Quitting Smoking

5 Steps to Quitting Smoking

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Kick the Habit for Good

Statistics show that one out of every five deaths in this country is related to smoking. But, it’s probably one of the most difficult habits to quit.

Here are five steps for successfully kicking the habit:

  • Make a plan. Counseling and medication are more effective than going cold turkey. Consult your physician for the best plan for you.
  • Set expectations. When discussing your plan, set expectations for possible withdrawal and other potential setbacks. Nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) can help reduce these symptoms without the harmful toxins. Know your triggers, and try to avoid them.
  • Join a smoking cessation program. These programs, led by trained professionals, provide a step-by-step plan on how to quit, information on NRT and more. If you’re looking for help, Northwestern Medicine tobacco cessation programs can provide support.
  • Be patient with yourself. It may take several attempts before you successfully quit smoking. Understand it takes time, and there might be triggers that are particularly difficult to overcome.
  • Get support. Enlist the help of family and friends. You can also seek online support groups, like SmokefreeUS, or use text alerts, mobile apps and other resources like the Illinois Quitline.

Smoking cessation is hard, but it’s possible — and worth it. After quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal in just 12 hours and your lung function improves in just two weeks.

- Karin Podolski, RN, MSN, Director, Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, Community Health Services

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