It’s Never Too Early to Quit Smoking

By The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Quitting smoking can be challenging, but you can find support for your quit journey where and when you need it, to raise your chances of quitting for good.

“I’m sick of this addiction.” Clay A. left that comment on the CDC Tobacco Free Facebook page. “I quit for a year and four months and came back,” he went on to say. “Quitting is not easy.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) knows that it may take a number of tries before you’re able to quit for good, but we also know that it can be done.  In fact, so many people have quit that there are now more former smokers than current smokers in the United States. Quitting can be challenging, but you can find support for your quit journey where and when you need it, to raise your chances of quitting for good. This year, make a New Year’s resolution to quit smoking for good.

“At this time of year, we know that many smokers make a resolution to quit and start off on a healthier course,” says Corinne Graffunder, DrPH, MPH, director of OSH. “If now is your time to quit tobacco, there are many tools available to help you find and follow a quit strategy that works for you.”

Whether you’ve never tried to quit or have tried many times, a new year means another chance to create your successful quit plan.

Never Too Early To Quit

No matter how long you’ve smoked, there are health benefits to quitting. James, a participant in the Tips From Former Smokers® campaign and a smoker for 30 years, started having some trouble doing everyday tasks. He also learned he had diabetes. So James decided he needed a healthier lifestyle. He put down cigarettes and started exercising. Quitting smoking gave him the energy to bike, run, and swim — things he couldn’t imagine doing before.

James said he wanted to send a message to people who think smoking won’t harm them because they haven’t had a major smoking-related illness. “I want to help people like me quit smoking,” he said. “Maybe nothing really bad has happened to you yet. Maybe you’re lucky, but you’re probably not going to stay lucky.”

Still a Leading Cause of Death

Even though adult smoking rates are at an all-time low, cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the country, with 480,000 people dying every year.

Smoking is linked to many dangerous diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, emphysema, and cancer. Smoking around others hurts their health, too. Breathing secondhand smoke can cause many of the same illnesses as smoking does. It can make children get sick more often, and smoking while pregnant raises the risk of a baby dying suddenly in the first year of life. No amount of secondhand smoke is risk-free.

Find What Works for You

Every smoker’s quit journey is different. It may take some time to find the strategies that help you stay quit. It helps to create a personalized quit plan. Some of the steps in an effective quit plan include:

  • Picking a quit date. Choose a date only a week or two away and highlight that day in your calendar or phone.
  • Telling loved ones and friends that you’re quitting. Let them know how they can help you quit.
  • Listing reasons to quit.
  • Getting rid of cigarettes and anything that reminds you of smoking.
  • Picking out feelings, places, and situations that make you want to smoke. It’s easier to avoid them if you’ve identified them!
  • Having healthy strategies to fight cravings.

Build Your Strategies

Smokers crave cigarettes because they contain a drug called nicotine, and smoking makes your body dependent on nicotine. Stopping smoking causes nicotine withdrawal, which can be uncomfortable, especially in the first weeks. There are ways to get through withdrawal — these can include support from family or a counselor, as well as medication that helps ease cravings.

It may take many tries to quit. The important thing is not to give up. Health care providers, such as doctors and nurses, can be good supporters in your quit journey. Your doctor may recommend some of the medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help people quit smoking. These may include nicotine replacement therapy medicines, which are patches, gums, or lozenges that give the body a small amount of nicotine to ease cravings without the other harmful effects of smoking cigarettes. Pharmacists can let you know about the effects of any medicine your doctor prescribes.

It’s Not Too Late

Whether you smoked for decades, like James, or only just started, whether you have a smoking-related illness or haven’t felt the damage from smoking yet, quitting right now can put you on the road to better health.

Says former smoker Dean G.: “Can’t wait to see my health continue to improve. Quitting is the best decision I ever made.”

This article was originally posted by the CDC on Dec. 31, 2018 and can be found at

The Facts: Electronic Cigarettes

By Tobacco Free Florida

Why Doctor Intervention is Important

  • Electronic cigarettes – also known as e-cigarettes, e-cigs, vape pens and vapes – have not been around long enough to determine their long-term health effects.
  • Studies have found harmful chemicals in some e-cigarettes. These substances include traces of metal, volatile organic compounds and nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic.1

 Not a Proven Cessation Tool

  • E-cigarettes are not approved quit aids by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA). There are seven USFDA-approved cessation aids and medications that are proven safe and effective when used as directed.2
  • Tobacco Free Florida offers free cessation services that can increase your patients’ chances of quitting by five times.3
  • These services provide free USFDA-approved nicotine replacement therapy, if medically appropriate and while supplies last.
  • Floridians who want to quit smoking are encouraged to find the cessation service that works best for them at

Dual Use with Conventional Cigarettes

  • Approximately three out of four e-cigarette users continue to smoke conventional cigarettes as well, which is called “dual use.”4
  • Dual use is not an effective way to safeguard one’s health.5 Even people who smoke fewer than five cigarettes a day may show signs of early heart disease.6

 E-cigarettes and Youth

  • Monthly poison control calls about exposure to liquid nicotine have increased dramatically. In just a few years, calls per month increased from one to 215. 7
  • In Florida, the number of high school students who were current e-cigarette users tripled from 5.4 percent in 2013 to 15.8 percent in 2015.8
  • There is evidence that adolescents who use e-cigarettes are more likely to start smoking cigarettes. 9,10
  • Adolescent bodies are more sensitive to nicotine, and adolescents are more easily addicted than adults.11 Because the adolescent brain is still developing, nicotine use during adolescence can disrupt the formation of brain circuits that control susceptibility to addiction.12

For more information on how to help your patients quit tobacco, visit


1 Cheng T. Chemical Evaluation of Electronic Cigarettes. Nicotine & Tobacco Research 2014;23,ii11–7. 23 May 2014.
2 “Five Keys for Quitting Smoking.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d. Web.
3 Professional Data Analysts. “BTFF Tobacco Cessation Evaluation FY15 Synthesis Report.” 15 February  2015.
4 King, Patel, Nguyen, and Dube. Trends in Awareness and Use of Electronic Cigarettes among U.S. Adults, 2010 -2013 Nicotine Tob Res ntu191 first published online September 19, 2014 doi:10.1093/ntr/ntu191.
5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Transcript for CDC press briefing: CDC launches powerful new ads in “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign.” 26 March 2015. Web. Last Assessed 24 July 2015.
6 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking — 50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.
7 Chatham-Stephens, Kevin, et al. “Notes from the Field: Calls to Poison Centers for Exposures to Electronic Cigarettes — United States, September 2010–February 2014.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 04 Apr. 2014.
8 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS), Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology, 2015.
9 Thomas A Wills, Rebecca Knight, James D Sargent, Frederick X Gibbons, Ian Pagano, Rebecca J Williams Longitudinal study of e-cigarette use and onset of cigarette smoking among high school students in Hawaii. Tob Control doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2015-052705.
10 Coleman BN, Apelberg BJ, Ambrose BK, et al. Association between electronic cigarette use and openness to cigarette smoking among US young adults. Nicotine Tob Res. 2015; 17(2):212-218.
11 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2010.
12 England, L. et al. Nicotine and the Developing Human: A Neglected Element of the E -cigarette Debate. Am J Prev Med. 2015 Mar 7. [Epub ahead of print].