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How to Quit Smoking in 5 Steps

How to Quit Smoking in 5 Steps

"Quitting smoking is easy. I've done it a hundred times!" If you've tried to stop puffing on coffin nails, Mark Twain's quotation rings oh-too-true. But we YOU Docs know how you can get off the merry-go-round to stop smoking. In a nutshell:

  1. Set a quit smoking date. Here's why you should plan to stop smoking 30 days from now.
  2. Start walking every day. You'll build discipline and heart/lung health. Stop smoking and lose weight. That's what this RealAger did.
  3. Get a prescription for anti-craving pills (e.g., buproprion) from your doc. Get a list of questions to discuss your quit-smoking plans with your physician.
  4. Find a support buddy—ideally, someone else who wants to stop smoking so you can help each other.
  5. Begin using a nicotine patch the day you stop smoking.

What about the new report "proving" that nicotine patches (and gums and lozenges) don't work? Baloney. It compared people who quit smoking using nicotine replacements with folks who quit cold turkey. Both groups fell off the nonsmoking wagon at about the same rate. That doesn't mean patches don't work.

In the study, the researchers didn’t measure quit rates; they measured return-to-smoking rates of quitters—making the "patches don't work" logic as twisted as Snooki's bra strap after a night on the town. Plus, we know long-term success doesn't happen that often with nicotine replacement alone.

We've helped at least 1,400 people quit. Smoking's a tough enemy, and you need an arsenal to beat it. Nicotine replacement is just one weapon—only 5 to 10 percent of quitters who do nicotine replacement alone succeed. Thus, our combo approach that includes the 5 steps outlined above. Nearly 60 percent of people who follow it succeed!

For step-by-steps, use the RealAge quit-smoking plan or check Smoking Cessation at Cleveland Clinic's wellness site, 360-5.com. Then go for it.

Find out why your brain craves nicotine.

Medically reviewed in July 2019.

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