Tobacco Use

You Can Quit Smoking

It’s no secret that smoking cigarettes and using other tobacco products is bad for your health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)*, smoking increases risk for serious health conditions including:

  •     Numerous types of cancer
  •     Heart disease
  •     Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, or COPD
  •     Pregnancy complications and birth defects

Even just being around cigarette smoke can be dangerous. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are especially vulnerable.

The good news is you can quit.

Make a plan to quit

The CDC offers these tips:

  • Pick a quit date. Put it on your calendar and stick to it.
  • Let people know. Tell friends and family of your plans to quit. They can help support you and hold you accountable.
  • Get rid of all of your smoking stuff. Ditch your cigarettes, lighters, matches and ashtrays. Freshen up your car and living space, so that not even the smell of cigarettes is there to tempt you.
  • Write down the reasons you want to quit. In a moment of weakness, it can be helpful to review your own reasons for why this change is important.
  • Beware of your smoking triggers. Maybe you are in the habit of having a cigarette with your morning coffee. Consider adjusting your routine — grab coffee in a café or on the go — and lighting up may seem less automatic.
  • Make a plan for cravings. Some people may need to wean themselves off of nicotine with patches or gum. Or perhaps a brisk walk, video game or handful of jellybeans is enough of a distraction to get your through.
  • Have a support system. Call or text a friend who can help distract you or talk you down from the urge to light up. There are quit lines and quit smoking apps that can help, too.
  • Reward yourself. Quitting smoking is a big deal. So when you reach milestones, celebrate them.

What about e-cigarettes?

You may have heard about e-cigarettes, e-pens, e-pipes or vaporizers. These devices contain liquid cartridges that produce a vapor that users inhale — or “vape.”

Marketers have promoted these devices as a “safe” alternative to smoking. But most of these products do contain nicotine and other potentially harmful chemicals. Scientists are still studying the long-term effects of these devices. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved them as a smoking cessation aid. For more information on electronic cigarettes, select the button below.

Take advantage of programs to help you quit smoking

You may have access to smoking cessation programs through your health insurance plan. To see what’s available to you, log into My Benefits Manager and look under Wellness.

*The CDC is an independent organization that offers health information that members of PAI may find helpful.