If you’re thinking about quitting smoking or using tobacco (or are trying to convince someone else to quit), then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve found the best Web sites to help you understand why you should quit smoking, determine the best way to do it, and find support to help you along the way and keep you from restarting.
It’s no secret that smoking is bad for you. The list of organs it can damage is long, and there are many diseases linked to smoking, such as emphysema, lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. Use this section to learn more about the health effects of smoking and reasons to quit smoking.
- The sites we’ve chosen for this section do a great job of explaining how nicotine works in the body and why quitting smoking is so hard to do. They also prepare you for the physical withdrawal (which lasts only a few days) and the psychological addiction, which can be much harder to break.
For an overview on smoking cessation …
American Cancer Society's
“Guide to Quitting Smoking” explains why it’s so hard. This lengthy guide covers the effects of smoking on the body and lists social and economic reasons to quit. It describes what happens to your body when you stop smoking, and the immediate rewards of quitting. This guide also tells you what to look for in smoking cessation programs.
For reasons to quit smoking …
published “Common Myths sbout Quitting Smoking,” available in a PDF document. The article encourages people to stop, with reasons such as “Quitting is expensive.”
is a site run by a tobacco-cessation educator. If you have the stomach for it, check out the gallery of people who have died from or are currently fighting tobacco-related illnesses, including those caused by smokeless tobacco. Then scroll down to view pictures of diseased lungs and people in the hospital.
American Cancer Society
has a page for those who want to stop using smokeless tobacco (also known as chewing tobacco). Although it’s not as lethal as cigarettes, smokeless tobacco still poses serious health risks, including oral and tongue cancer.
is a nonprofit site devoted to helping people quit. What sets this page apart is a calculator that helps you figure out how much you’re spending each week, month or year on cigarettes. Scroll down the left side of the homepage to find it.
You can quit smoking on your own or with the help of medication, counseling, patches, gums, nasal spray or even hypnotherapy. The sites in this section tell you what to expect from the different ways to quit smoking, and help you determine which method would be best for you.
- Quitting cold turkey or gradually cutting back may seem like the cheapest and easiest way to stop smoking, but cessation Web sites discourage these approaches because they don’t really work. Research shows that fewer than 10 percent of smokers succeed at quitting cold turkey. It’s generally recommended to combine at least two approaches, such as counseling and nicotine replacement.
- Be sure you talk to your doctor about your choice to quit smoking, even if you aren’t seeking a prescription drug. Nicotine replacement therapies, such as the patch or gum, could interfere with medications you’re taking. Your doctor may also have other resources to share.
- Though the Web doesn’t have a comprehensive, centralized list of local smoking cessation programs, check the Web site of your nearby hospital or city or county health department to see whether it offers classes.
- We’ve included two sites that help you track your progress day by day, but you might find it more convenient to use free online calendars such as those offered by Google and Yahoo. These don’t specifically track your quitting smoking efforts, but they do offer a way to keep track of all your important events (quitting and otherwise) in the same place.
- Quitting smokeless tobacco, like cigarette smoking, involves breaking both a nicotine addiction and a physical habit, and the Web sites in this section can help you do both.
To determine the best method to quit smoking …
American Cancer Society
can help you figure out the best way to quit by assessing your smoking habits in a six-question quiz.
American Academy of Family Physicians
has a number of smoking cessation resources, including this “Why Do I Smoke?” quiz that helps you figure out your reasons and offers alternatives. For people who smoke because of stress, for example, the site recommends other ways to manage tension.
To get started with quitting smoking…
American Lung Association
has a free online cessation program called “Freedom from Smoking.” Completing the program requires free registration.
has a calendar feature you can use to plan your day to quit and track your progress. You’ll also get daily tips for quitting based on your personal situation.
To learn more about techniques used to quit smoking …
National Cancer Institute
has a brief overview of the methods used to quit smoking, such as the types of counseling available and nicotine replacement products.
American Family Physician
is a peer-reviewed journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians. It has an article that outlines the different quitting methods in more detail and rates their effectiveness. The article is a little more technical but still readable.
For information on nicotine replacement therapy …
outlines the different types of nicotine replacement available. This site describes who should and shouldn’t use the different products, how they work, how well they work and their side effects.
For hypnotherapy to quit smoking …
has a page explaining how clinical hypnotherapy works and its benefits and drawbacks. While there are no specifics on hypnotherapy for quitting smoking, the site does provide a solid overview of the technique.
American Society of Clinical Hypnosis
has a member search page that allows you to search by state and specialty to find a hypnotherapist. There’s no “smoking cessation” specialty, so search “addictions.”
For acupuncture to quit smoking …
The Cochrane Collaboration
is a nonprofit organization devoted to reviewing scientific evidence. This report concludes that acupuncture is not an effective technique for people who are trying to quit smoking, but that it might have some value as a placebo.
explains what to expect from an acupuncturist if you go, but doesn’t draw a conclusion on the technique’s effectiveness.
For clinical trials …
is a clearinghouse operated by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and provides a list of research clinical trials currently underway to test experimental treatments for smoking cessation. To learn more about clinical trials, speak to your doctor, and read the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's guide
Even with the tremendous resources available to quit smoking, it remains extremely difficult. Luckily, there is a great deal of support for quitting smoking available both face-to-face and online.
- Check your county or city health department or hospital’s Web sites for smoking cessation support groups in your area.
- It’s not uncommon for someone who’s quit smoking to slip up and have a cigarette or dip, or even to relapse entirely. Scroll down to the end of this section for sites that can help you deal with slips and relapses.
- Keep in mind that not everyone you’ll encounter in online forums or support groups has the best of intentions or represents themselves accurately. Some people may claim that they used a remedy you’ve never heard of; be wary of those claims, especially if they include links to buy specific products.
To find a quit smoking support group in your area …
has a database of meetings throughout the United States and 30 other countries around the world. If there are no meetings in your area, use the “Starter Kit” link on the left to learn how to start one. NA also offers meetings via the Internet and telephone.
For online support to help you quit smoking …
is a site run by a Chicago-area smoking cessation teacher. This page is full of links to online smoking cessation forums.
National Cancer Institute
has a page of fact sheets that cover many aspects of life without smoking. Topics covered include handling irritability and frustration, getting through the morning without a cigarette and many more.
If you slip or relapse while you’re quitting smoking …
has short articles on managing cravings when you quit, and resources if you slip up.
has a “Reinforcement Library” to discourage relapses. The main message through these articles is “Never take another puff.”
It can be hard to stand by and watch people you care about smoke, knowing the affect it’s having on them and those around them. The sites in this section have tips to assist you in helping someone quit smoking successfully.
- One message echoed by all of the sites in this section is that nagging someone to quit doesn’t work. You can, however, ban people from smoking in your home or car. It won’t stop them from smoking in other places, but it’s a start.
- Smokers already know that smoking isn’t good for them. These sites suggest that you focus your arguments on how your loved ones’ quitting would affect you, not them.
American Cancer Society
has do's and don’ts for relatives and friends who are trying to help someone stop smoking. Suggestions include spending time with a person to help take his mind off quitting, and advice for dealing with slips and relapses. This site even gives advice if you’re a smoker supporting someone who is trying to quit.
helps you start the quitting conversation with a smoker, and offers advice on ways to provide continued support and encouragement.
has tips to help you convince a loved one to quit, to encourage them along the way and to support them through any slips or relapses.
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