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Smoking Cessation

Smoking-related deaths represent 80 percent of lung cancer mortalities and 30 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States. Tobacco use also raises the risks of many other health conditions, including multiple types of cancer, respiratory illness, heart disease, heart attack, stroke, low bone density, type 2 diabetes, cataracts, and macular degeneration. Research has consistently shown that smoking cessation is paramount to lung health, and smokers who quit are more likely to live a healthier and longer life while greatly decreasing their risk of lung cancer.


  • Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
  • Nearly one in five deaths in the United States is linked to smoking.
  • Thirty percent of all cancer deaths are attributed to smoking.
  • Quitting smoking before age 40 lowers risk of death from a smoking-related cause by 90 percent.
  • Smoking increases risk of 16 other cancers including oral, pancreatic, bladder, cervical, kidney, colorectal, and esophageal cancers.
  • Smoking cessation decreases the risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, lung infection, heart attack, and stroke.
  • Smoking reduces a person’s lifespan by an average of 10 years.
  • Approximately 15 percent of Texans smoked cigarettes in 2019 (latest available data).

Types of Cessation

  • Nicotine Replacement: Nicotine patches, gum, inhalers, nasal sprays, and lozenges can all be used to replace, reduce, and eliminate nicotine dependence. All methods provide a variety of levels of nicotine per dose, and users taper down dosage and frequency over time. This helps ease nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
    • Nicotine patches deliver nicotine through the skin.
    • Nicotine gum and lozenges deliver nicotine through the mouth.
    • Nicotine inhalers and nasal sprays deliver nicotine inhaled through the mouth or nose, which is intended to simulate smoking. Nicotine inhalers and nasal sprays require a prescription, but other nicotine replacement therapies are available over the counter.
  • Cold Turkey/Gradual Withdrawal: Some smokers choose to quit cold turkey, while others choose to quit gradually by slowly decreasing the number of cigarettes smoked each day until they are no longer dependent on nicotine. Either option can be aided by use of nicotine replacement products.

Tips for Cessation

  • Choose A Day: Pick a day, ideally a meaningful date, to stop smoking. Some people use birthdays, anniversaries, New Year’s Day, or other occasions that remind them of their motivations for quitting.
  • Trash the Stash: Eliminate all cigarettes, ashtrays, and lighters from the home, car, and work area.
  • Avoid Temptation: Steer clear of designated smoking areas and secondhand smoke.
  • Get Moving: Light to moderate exercise can help reduce cravings. Replace smoke breaks with walks around the office or neighborhood.
  • Keep Your Mouth Busy: Drink water, chew gum, snack on fruit or vegetable slices, get a deck of cards, play a phone game, or stay busy with writing or typing, to break habits and avoid giving in to cravings.
  • Treat Yourself: Use the money that would have been spent on tobacco to fund an experience or much-wanted treat as a reward for quitting.
  • Set Up Support: Call or text a friend or family member who can lend support. Phone apps and hotlines can provide on-demand or real-time chat support.
  • Ask for Help: Call the Quitline 1-877-937-7848, a hotline supported by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Sources: American Cancer Society, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Cancer Institute, and Texas Department of State Health Services

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