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Top 10 Ways to Quit Smoking

author image Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut has published peer-reviewed medical research since 1971. Pickut teaches presentational speaking and holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors and is editor for "The Jamestown Gazette." Pickut holds bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and master's degrees in physiology and mass communication.
Top 10 Ways to Quit Smoking
A woman smokes a vapor cigarette at a local grocery store. Photo Credit prostooleh/iStock/Getty Images

You were not born smoking, and you can go back to being a non-smoker. According to the "Why Quit News" for November 16, 2005, 46 million successful quitters have invented lots of creative methods. One of their techniques might be the right one for you.

If you have quit before, then returned to smoking, simply consider it a rehearsal for your next and final quit.

Cold Turkey

Quitting cold turkey, meaning all at once, instantly transforms you into a non-smoker. Joel Spitzer, director of "Freedom From Tobacco" in Evanston, Illinois, says the cold turkey motto is simply “Never Take Another Puff.” Spitzer says 91 percent of successful quitters do it cold turkey.

Group Support

The American Lung Association recommends quitting with a group of like-minded people. You can support each other, trade winning strategies and swap successful tips. The most successful groups are conducted by trained, experienced leaders.


In a 2009 report by physicians at the American Cancer Society (ACS), hypnosis helped some people quit smoking. However, techniques, practitioners and success rates vary widely. Coaches at Smoking Cessation.org report a 66 percent success rate with a four-session protocol administered by licensed psychologists.


Nicotine replacement therapy, or NRT, replaces cigarettes with patches, gums, nasal sprays, lozenges or inhalers. These enable tapering off the addictive nicotine so you can manage your cravings in gradual steps, while eliminating smoke and its other harmful chemicals from your lungs.


Sabotage your habit. The American Lung Association advises quitters to prepare by tossing out their ash trays, lighters and matches. Also, eliminate triggers like coffee and alcohol from your pantry, then buy tea and other beverages. Remove every cigarette from your home. Without tobacco and its paraphernalia, you can not smoke.

Phone a Friend

According to the ACS, as of 2009, all US states and the District of Columbia provide free telephone links to trained counselors who match programs to individuals' unique needs. Phone counseling is twice as effective as quitting without help. The ACS, at 1-800-227-2345, can locate your state's phone program.


Bupropion, brand named Zyban, reduces nicotine withdrawal symptoms. It can be prescribed alone or with NRT. Start one or two weeks before quitting tobacco. Do not use Zyban if you have seizures, serious head injury, bipolar or eating disorders, or a tendency to abuse alcohol.


Varenicline, brand named Chantix, interferes with brain receptors for nicotine, diminishing the enjoyment of smoking, and reducing nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

The ACS reports that several studies have shown varenicline more than doubles success rates for smoking cessation. Other studies suggest better short-term effectiveness than with bupropion.

Nicotine Anonymous

This is a 12-step program for living nicotine-free. Nicotine Anonymous offers group support along with the "12 Steps" approach pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous. The toll-free number is 1-877-879-6422 for printed materials, information and meeting schedules.

Follow the Money

The American Lung Association says reward yourself for quitting. Hilary Smith, writing for "MSN Money," says the average 2010 cost of cigarettes is nearly $5 per pack. Smoking one pack a day might cost $35 per week, or $1,820 per year. If you think about what else you can buy with that, you will probably find a way to stop smoking.

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