What is the first thing I should do if I want to quit smoking?

Andrea S. Wolf, MD
Vascular Surgery
Think about yourself and what drives you to smoke. That will help you adjust behaviors/conditions that support smoking and help you devise a plan to quit. Talk with your doctor. He or she can help provide advice, education, and/or medication. Talk with your friends and family. Their support and encouragement can help you quit successfully.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
When you know that you're ready to quit smoking, the first thing you should do is pick a date. Circle it on your calendar and make a note in your day planner. Don't choose a date too far in the future, which will give you time to change your mind. Don't choose tomorrow, either. Give yourself time to prepare. Quitting smoking is hard work, but taking the proper steps, such as asking friends for moral support and seeing your doctor for help, increase your odds of succeeding.
Setting a quit date is a good first step. Then determine whether you are going to stop abruptly or gradually. Look for social support either as part of a group or with friends and family. Think about consulting your doctor. Identify resources, for example, the American Cancer Society has an online guide to quitting smoking that may be helpful.
Joanne M. Foody, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Giving up cigarettes can be tough, but it is possible! Although quitting isn’t easy, many former smokers have succeeded in putting tobacco behind them for good. Here are some tips that can help you become one of them.

Before You Quit:

Set a quit date.

List your reasons to quit. By writing out your reasons, you’re affirming your desire to stop smoking and reminding yourself of why you need to do it now. Refer back to the list when you feel like you might relapse.

Throw away your cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays. By getting rid of them, you’re sending the message that you're committed to quitting. Keeping them around in your house, car, or workplace will make it easier to relapse, and harder to think of yourself as a nonsmoker.

Get support from your friends and family. Ask the people around you for encouragement. Most of your friends and family will probably be happy to see you taking steps to better health, and by letting them know that you’re stopping, you can prepare them for any irritableness you might show in the first few days.

Consider nicotine replacement products. Some people have more success quitting smoking when they incorporate a nicotine replacement product, such as gum or the patch, into their plan. If you’re interested in using one of these products, talk to a health care provider about which one is right for you. If you’ve recently had heart problems, be sure to mention this to your health care provider.

For more information on quitting smoking and its' benefits, please visit

Putting Out Cigarette
Irwin Isaacs
Consult with a physician, join a support group, or just throw away your cigarettes.
Robert S. Kaufmann, MD
Internal Medicine
First you have got to set up a plan - when you are going to do it, how you are going to do it.  Talk to your doctor and figure out what medications you might need and what your plan is but everything works better if you have a plan.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Find out the smoking cessation programs near you and talk to someone about them.  There are many programs that are national or international such as treatment where you can phone in and find out methods.  The usual method involves getting buddies as buddies are part of a support system, either to quit with you or buddies who already quit and want to support you.  Secondly, you will want to set a quit day, start doing some extra walking every day, no excuses beforehand, as a different behavior, and then talk to a physician or nurse practitioner or tobacco counselor about the anti-craving pill, and the patch, or perhaps even the dopamine antagonist pill.  Behavior therapy, plus pill, plus patch, plus exercise, plus support group has a great success rate above 30%, maybe as high as 65%, compared to 2-3% to try and quit cold turkey alone.  Remember to plan a quit day, and then get rid of all smoking paraphernalia such as ashtrays, cigarettes, etc., and get rid of them on your quit day.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.