Everglades AHEC - Tobacco Department
5725 Corporate Way, Suite 102
West Palm Beach, FL 33407

Phone 561.688.9591
Toll Free 1.877.819.2357
Fax 561.688.9592
Email info@eahec.org





Staying quit is the final, and most important, stage of the process. Many of the same methods can be used to stay quit as were used to help get through withdrawal. A smoker should think ahead to those times when they may feel the urge to smoke and plan on how they will use alternatives and activities to deal with it.

Here are some things a smoker can do if they feel tempted to start smoking again:

  • Wait. Cravings are natural and they will pass. Don't think about not being able to smoke for the rest your life, think about not smoking for the next 10 minutes.
  • Remember the reasons for wanting to quit. You only have to go through this once and then you'll be a non-smoker for the rest of your life.
  • Seek support. Call someone. Tell them you are thinking about smoking and ask them to help you through it. Talk to friends who have successfully quit or friends quitting with you.
  • Replace the craving with something healthy. Drink water, make yourself a snack, take a walk, exercise, see a movie. Do something to pass the time.
  • Reduce stress. Is something happening in your life that is causing stress? Try to let it go, talk to a counselor, take a shower, go work out, schedule a massageā€¦do whatever it takes to de-stress!

What Happens When You Quit?

  • Many smokers have heard the negative effects of smoking and know that quitting can lower chances of getting related cancers. However, the benefits of quitting begin with the first 20 minutes and can continue as long as one stays quit.

After smoking the last cigarette:

    20 Minutes
  • Blood pressure and pulse drop to normal
  • Body temperature of hands and feet increases to normal

    8 Hours
  • Carbon monoxide levels in blood drop to normal
  • Oxygen levels in blood increase to normal

  • 24 Hours
  • Chance of heart attack decreases

    48 Hours
  • Nerve endings start to re-grow
  • Smell and taste abilities are enhanced

  • 2 Weeks to 3 Months
  • Circulation improves
  • Walking becomes easier
  • Lung function increases by up to 30%

  • 1 to 9 Months
  • Coughing, fatigue, shortness of breath and sinus congestion decrease
  • Cilia re-grow in lungs, increasing the lungs' ability to clean itself, handle mucus and reduce infection

    1 Year
  • Excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker

    5 Years
  • Lung cancer death rate decreases by almost half, for average (1 pack a day) former smoker
  • Stroke risk reduced to that of a non-smoker
  • Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat and esophagus is half that of a smoker

    10 Years
  • Lung cancer death is similar to that of a non-smoker
  • Precancerous cells are replaced
  • Risk of cancer of mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, cervix and pancreas decreases

    15 Years
  • Risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker

  • Source: American Cancer Society

In addition to the health benefits, overall appearance will also improve by eliminating the yellow teeth, stale breath and smell of cigarette smoke on hair and clothes. Confidence will grow because quitting and leading a smoke-free lifestyle can give someone a strong sense of satisfaction and the feeling that they can accomplish anything.

And quitters may have more money! Those who smoked 20 cigarettes a day will save themselves about $1,200 a year. Non-smokers also pay less for life insurance premiums.


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