Questions About Smoking, Tobacco, and Health

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How do people quit tobacco?

Quitting tobacco is not easy. Most people have to try many times before they are able to quit for good. There are many ways to quit. For example, some are able to stop “cold turkey,” some take part in the Great American Smokeout®, and some people quit by using other methods.

There’s no one best way to quit. Quitting for good often means using 3 or more methods, including step-by-step manuals, self-help groups, counseling, toll-free phone-based counseling programs, online support, and/or nicotine replacement therapies or other medicines.

No matter which methods are used, people trying to quit tobacco need more than one way to approach quitting. Tobacco users must deal with the physical symptoms caused by withdrawal from nicotine, which usually last a few days to a couple of weeks. They also need to deal with the emotional, psychological, and mental dependence. People who quit for good find ways to deal with pressure, stress, and emotional pain without smoking. The mental and psychological craving can cause relapse even years later – that’s how addictive nicotine is! For more information on quitting and treatments that can be used to help, see our documents called Guide to Quitting Smoking and Guide to Quitting Smokeless Tobacco.

Where can I go for help quitting tobacco?

It’s hard to stop using tobacco, but you can do it! More than 50 million Americans have quit smoking for good, and now there are more former smokers than current smokers in the US. People are breaking free of other forms of tobacco, too. Many organizations offer information, counseling, and other services on how to quit, as well as information on where to go for help. Other good resources for finding help include your doctor, dentist, local hospital, or employer.

If you want to quit tobacco and need help, contact one of these organizations:

American Cancer Society
Toll-free number: 1-800-227-2345

Your state tobacco cessation line (in collaboration with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Office on Smoking and Health)
Toll-free quit support line: 1-800-784-8669 (1-800-QUIT-NOW)
TTY: 1-800-332-8615
Quitting help website:

National Cancer Institute
Free tobacco quit line: 1-877-448-7848 (1-877-44U-QUIT) (also available in Spanish)
Smoking cessation website:

Nicotine Anonymous (NicA)
Toll-free number: 1-877-879-6422 (1-877-TRY-NICA)


Last Medical Review: 02/13/2014
Last Revised: 02/13/2014