Get Help Quitting


Are You Ready to Quit Smoking?

Quitting smoking isn’t easy – but you can do it! Whether this is your first time trying to quit or an attempt to quit again, you’ll find resources and free help on this site to develop a quit plan and support you along your smoke-free journey.

Quitting smoking has so many benefits – it will improve your physical health, save you money and, for many people, quitting smoking leads to a better social and family life and feeling of greater freedom.

Common Questions When Deciding Whether to Quit

Do people gain a lot of weight when they quit?
Generally, no. In fact, many people stay the same and some even lose weight. Among those who gain weight, the average is 5-7 pounds. Planning can help prevent weight gain: include plenty of activity in your life (hobbies, exercise, etc.) and commit to eating healthy meals and snacks.

How do I keep from going through mood swings?
Many people get moody when they’re making a big change like quitting smoking. But with a good plan and an active routine, you’ll be better prepared to handle bad moods. As with most withdrawal symptoms, by the end of the first week or two you should be feeling less and less irritable.

The last time I tried to become tobacco free, I failed. How do I get past thinking that I just can’t quit smoking?
Most people try several times before they quit for good. Think of your previous attempts as “practice” for the real thing. Try to remember the things that helped and the things that didn’t. Your experience actually gives you an edge – it makes it more likely to quit for good this time around.

Will cutting down help me to quit smoking?
It could, as long as you plan to quit completely once you get down to a certain point. Cutting down can be a good way to build your confidence while gradually reducing your nicotine intake. If you want to quit completely, you need to set a Quit Day and stick to it. Otherwise it can be very difficult to give up those last few cigarettes.

I smoke outside so it won’t affect others, and I smoke less often because of it. Isn’t that good enough?
Depending on what you want for yourself and for the people around you, this can be a good step. Many smokers have no-smoking zones in their homes because they’re concerned about others. This concern can be a strong motivator. Plus, you’ve increased your chances of successfully quitting by cutting down the number of cigarettes you smoke.

Should I use the patch or some other quitting aid?
Many people find quitting aids to be helpful. The most common ones are nicotine patches, nicotine gum, and certain medications. They can be especially helpful for people who smoke more than 15 cigarettes a day. On the other hand, many smokers prefer to quit “cold turkey,” meaning without using a quitting aid. Whether you use a quitting aid or go cold turkey is a personal decision. You may wish to discuss it with your doctor.

What should I expect when I quit smoking?
Everyone’s experience with quitting is a little different, but here are some things you may notice:

  • Difficulty being around smokers
  • Good days and bad days
  • Withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability
  • Breathing easier
  • Situations that challenge your motivation to keep going
  • Cravings that are strong at first, but weaker with time
  • A growing sense of accomplishment

Health Benefits of Quitting:

  • Within 20 minutes, your blood pressure and pulse drop to normal and your body temperature in your hands and feet increase to normal.
  • After 8 hours, carbon monoxide levels in the blood drop to normal and your oxygen level increases.
  • After 24 hours, your breath, hair, and body stop smelling like smoke. Your chance of a heart attack decreases.
  • After 48 hours, your nerve endings recover. Your sense of taste and smell improve.
  • After 72 hours, the nicotine is out of your body. Bronchial tubes relax, making breathing easier.
  • After 2 weeks to 3 months, your lungs can hold more air. Exercise becomes easier and your circulation increases.
  • After 1 to 9 months, coughing, congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decrease. The cilia (tiny hair cells) in your lungs regrow, which cleans the lungs and helps prevent infections. Overall, your body energy increases.
  • After 1 year, your risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half.
  • After 5 years, your risk of a stroke is reduced to that of a non-smoker.

Featured Videos

Learn more about living healthy and tobacco free in LA County by watching these videos.