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Fact Sheet

  • Reviewed: 10/28/2010

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Where To Get Help When You Decide To Quit Smoking

Key Points

  • Health care professionals can advise people about quitting smoking.
  • The National Cancer Institute helps smokers quit.
  1. Which health care professionals can help me quit smoking?

    Many health care professionals can be good sources of information about the health risks of smoking and the benefits of quitting. Talk to your doctor, dentist, pharmacist, or other health care provider about the proper use and potential side effects of nicotine replacement products and other medicines (see the National Cancer Institute [NCI] fact sheet How To Handle Withdrawal Symptoms and Triggers When You Decide To Quit Smoking at http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/tobacco/symptoms-triggers-quitting). They can also help you find local resources for assistance in quitting smoking.

  2. How can I find out about national and local resources to help me quit smoking?

    Visit NCI’s Smokefree.gov Web site at http://www.smokefree.gov on the Internet. This Web site offers science-driven tools, information, and support that has helped smokers quit. You will find state and national resources, free materials, and quitting advice from NCI.

    The Smokefree.gov Web site was established by the Tobacco Control Research Branch (http://www.cancercontrol.cancer.gov/tcrb/) of NCI, a component of the National Institutes of Health, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other organizations.

    Publications available from the Smokefree.gov Web site include the following:

    NCI’s Smoking Quitline at 1–877–44U–QUIT (1–877–448–7848) offers a wide range of services, including individualized counseling, printed information, referrals to other resources, and recorded messages. Smoking cessation counselors are available to answer smoking-related questions in English or Spanish, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern time. Smoking cessation counselors are also available through LiveHelp (an online instant messaging service) at http://www.cancer.gov/livehelp on the Internet. LiveHelp is available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Eastern time.

    Your state has a toll-free telephone quitline. Call 1–800–QUIT–NOW (1–800–784–8669) to get one-on-one help with quitting, support and coping strategies, and referrals to resources and local cessation programs. The toll-free number routes callers to state-run quitlines, which provide free cessation assistance and resource information to all tobacco users in the United States. This initiative was created by the Department of Health and Human Services (http://www.hhs.gov). For more information about quitlines, visit http://www.smokefree.gov/expert.aspx on the Smokefree.gov Web site.

  3. How can I help someone I know quit smoking?

    It’s understandable to be concerned about someone you know who currently smokes. It’s important to find out if this person wants to quit smoking. Most smokers say they want to quit. If they don’t want to quit, try to find out why.

    Here are some things you can do to help:

    • Express things in terms of your own concern about the smoker’s health (“I’m worried about…”).
    • Acknowledge that the smoker may get something out of smoking and may find it difficult to quit.
    • Be encouraging and express your confidence that the smoker can quit for good.
    • Suggest a specific action, such as calling a smoking quitline, for help in quitting smoking.
    • Ask the smoker for ways in which you can provide support.

    Here are some things you should not do:

    • Don’t send quit smoking materials to smokers unless they ask for them.
    • Don’t blame or criticize the smoker for their addiction to tobacco.
    • Don’t criticize, nag, or remind the smoker about past failures.

This text may be reproduced or reused freely. Please credit the National Cancer Institute as the source. Any graphics may be owned by the artist or publisher who created them, and permission may be needed for their reuse.