slideshow Home About Us Healthcare Providers
This site Web
Women's Health Pregnancy After Pregnancy Baby's Care & Development Infant Safe Sleep/SIDS Child Health Insurance Medical Home Volunteer Opportunites Donate to Us

Women's Health
Quit smoking

Benefits of Quitting

  • Your breathing, circulation and physical functioning improve
  • You lower your risk for stroke or other heart problems
  • Your lungs begin to heal and your chance of lung disease declines
  • Your sense of taste and smell improves
  • You feel better as your body adjusts to being smoke-free
  • You save money
  • Your hair and clothes smell better

How to Quit

The biggest mistake a smoker can make when she tries to kick the habit is not preparing to quit.

Quitting smoking is a major change in your life. All changes are easier when you prepare. Would you have a wedding or trip without planning? Of course not. And you should not try to quit smoking without getting ready. Download a copy of the workbook Opens in new window"If You Smoke and Are Pregnant.." It can help you make a plan and stick to it, whether or not you are pregnant. (If the workbook downloads too slowly, try the Opens in new windowplain text version.)

Quitting Smoking is one of the most important choices you can make in your life.

Nicotine dependence

test yourself (Opens in new windowplain text version)

Are you curious about your level of nicotine dependence?
How dependent on nicotine is someone you care about that smokes?
Take the Fagerstrom Test* to find out.

Tips for Quitting

Make a plan to quit. Tell your family and friends about your desire to stop smoking. Ask them to be supportive and to help you. Pay attention to situations and your routines when you smoked. Prepare yourself to do something different. Try the STAR approach.

  • Set a quit date
  • Tell others
  • Anticipate challenges
  • Remove all tobacco products

If you decide to stop smoking gradually:

  • cut down on the number of cigarettes you smoke
  • inhale the smoke less often
  • lengthen the time between cigarettes

Setting Your Quit Date

Once you decide to stop smoking, your first step is to set a Quit Day.

During the week of your Quit Day:

  • Think about why you smoke
  • List reasons why you want to quit
  • Rate how much you want each cigarette from 1 to 5
  • Don't smoke the ones you really don't want
  • Buy your cigarettes one pack at a time
  • Start to exercise on a regular basis
  • Find a non-smoking friend to give you support
  • Take slow deep breaths to relax
  • Know which places, times, people or feelings make you want to smoke
  • Think about what you will do when you want to smoke
  • Break habits and change routines connected with your smoking
  • Get rid of all your cigarettes, lighters, and ash trays
  • Take it one day at a time
  • Believe that you will succeed!

HALT - Avoid these smoking triggers

Make a plan so you don't smoke when you are:

  • Hungry
  • Angry
  • Lonely
  • Tired

Ways to Cope Without a Cigarette

  1. Drink plenty of fluids. Have at least 8 glasses of water and fruit juices a day to help flush the nicotine from your body.
  2. Eat regular meals. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and foods rich in protein are good choices. Limit foods with sugar or fat.
  3. Relax. Give yourself a break during the day - especially when you have a strong urge to smoke.
  4. Tell yourself that urges don't last. Each urge to smoke will pass in three to five minutes. Do something else while you wait it out. Get a drink of water, walk around the block or talk to a friend.
  5. Think about what you will buy. Save the money you used to spend on cigarettes and doctor bills and buy something you want.
  6. Remind yourself of all the things you hate about smoking.
  7. Ask friends and family for help. Tell them you are quitting and let them know how they can help.
  8. Praise yourself. Think how well you are doing each time you have an urge and don't smoke.
  9. Notice healthy changes. After a few days your sense of taste and smell will improve. Breathing will be easier in a few weeks.
  10. Speak up when you're angry or frustrated. Stick up for your rights or take a walk. Don't let your mood be an excuse to smoke.
  11. Take it one day at a time.

Give yourself a pat on the back for trying. You'll feel proud when you have kicked the habit!

Talk to your doctor or nurse about your desire to quit smoking before you have a baby. They may have other ways to help you achieve your goal. Remember, most smokers try to quit several times before they quit for good. Don't give up!!!

Many resources are available to help smokers become non-smokers. Talk to friends or family members who have successfully quit smoking. Talk to your doctor, nurse or health care providers. Clinic staff at your county health department can provide counseling and link you to services.

Other Links

North Carolina

DHHS Customer Service Center

1-800-662-7030 (English/ Spanish)
1-877-452-2514 (TTY)

Opens in new windowNorth Carolina Tobacco Use Quitline - 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669). Provide coaching sessions with a coach; tips and techniques to quit; quit plan, help you stay on track and send you print materials to support your efforts.
Hours: 8 AM - 12 PM (EST)

Opens in new windowQuit Now North Carolina - Find support, quit help-lines, and materials to stop smoking now.


For more health information, search MedlinePlus

MedlinePlus Trusted Health Information for You

Opens in new windowThe Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids

Opens in new windowTRU Campaign - Tobacco Reality Unfiltered

Opens in new windowSmoke-free Families

Opens in new windowRobert Wood Johnson Foundation - Program to help pregnant smokers quit smoking

National Quit Now

*Fagerstrom Test - Developed by Dr. Karl Fagerstrom, one of the world's leading authorities on the effects of smoking, the dependency quiz can help you determine how hard it will be for you to break the habit.

It takes about a minute to complete. Fagerstrom Test.

Back to top

Last updated: June 2012

View this page in Spanish

Text4baby link

More Info

My Health Journal
This publication will help you keep all of your health information updated and in one place. You can download My Health Journal in word format to your computer for personal use.
Opens in new window Word format (for download)
Opens in new window PDF version (3.98 MB)*
Opens in new window Plain text version

Keeping It Real
This 8-page brochure is packed with current information about HIV and is designed to educate and empower women.
Opens in new window PDF version (323 KB)*
Opens in new window Plain text version

My Personal Health Pledge Card
Get your Great 8 Checkups!
Opens in new window PDF version (1.57 MB)*

Taking Care of Me
This self-help guide gives postpartum women practical health tips on emotional health, stress, nutrition, exercise, family planning and reproductive health, and alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
Opens in new window PDF version (488 KB)*
Opens in new window Plain text version
Note: Download time (approximate): dial-up of 56 K- approximately 1 minute; DSL - 15 seconds.

Choices: Health Matters for Women
This magazine addresses some of the tough choices women nake that affect their health. Topic include: smoking, drinking, drug use, relationships, food cravings, stress and more.
Opens in new window PDF version (529 KB)*
Opens in new window Plain text version

Each item opens in a new browser window Opens in new window.

*If the PDF download time is too slow, try the plain text version. If your computer can't open the PDF version, download Opens in new windowa FREE Adobe Acrobat Reader.

| About this site | Accessibility | Privacy policy
© 1999-2012 N.C. Healthy Start Foundation