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Get Smart about smoking

A Healthy Hearts Guide  WHF red heart corporate logo ®

Picture of two young female college students

  • The fastest growing sector of smokers in the United States is women under the age of 23.

  • Smoking rates have decreased in adult men but continue to rise in adult women, teens and minorities.

The tobacco industry uses target advertising, promoting women in smoking ads as being healthy, young, smart, attractive and desirable. Don't be fooled. Smoking causes serious health problems and once you start, it's hard to stop. The physical effects of withdrawal from cigarettes last only about two weeks but the psychological effects last longer. Even if you are not a smoker, think about the effect smoking has on others in your environment. Second-hand smoke is especially dangerous to children and babies whose bodies are still developing. If someone in your family is a smoker, ask that they smoke outside.

Quitting the Habit

Most people polled about cigarette smoking admit they would like to quit, but before you can think about quitting, you need to know why you smoke in the first place. You must become aware of what activities or events trigger your smoking behavior. If you are smoking for weight control, you will need to address weight management even before you make plans to quit. Eating smaller portions and increasing your activity level can help.

Methods for quitting include going cold turkey, biofeedback, hypnosis, group therapy, behavior modification, acupuncture and nicotine patch or gum, just to name a few. Community incentive programs like "The Great American Smoke-Out" help you to think more about quitting. Relapse is common. The average smoker makes six tries before being successful, so don't be discouraged... just start over. Set a quit date NOW. Devise a plan on how to deal with the cravings and get SMART about smoking.


Save Money. A pack a day is an $800+ per year habit


Mind Media Manipulation. Be aware of it and reject it


Address Addiction Control. Understand it. Get help to stop it.


Record your activities and emotions when reaching for a smoke.


Trade unhealthy smoking habits for healthy ones. Take a walk, chew gum, fix yourself a cup of tea, eat a mint, sing a song, call a friend, munch a celery stick, start a new hobby, enroll in a class. Quit smoking and choose better health!

My Commitment to Better Health
  • I promise to stop smoking as of _______(quit date) and to practice my coping methods. Every day I don't smoke, I will be saving $_____ by not smoking.

  • After the first week, I will have saved $_______ and will reward myself by_____________________________.

  • After the first month, I will have saved $_________ and will treat myself to an even bigger reward of _______________________________________________.


After you make a formal commitment to yourself, think about what is important to you in your life and write it down on a piece of paper as your "Reasons for Quitting". Keep this paper tucked away in a private place and refer to it whenever you feel tempted. Name a support person you can call if you feel tempted to light up. 

Remember: relapse is common so just start over. Set a Quit Date TODAY. Your family will thank you, and so will your heart.

Resources: Click here for a Self-paced Guide to Quitting Smoking Ask your health care professional about ways to quit smoking. Contact your local hospital for Stop Smoking Programs. Social support can make all the difference with your achieving success. Contact the American Heart Association, American Lung Association or the American Cancer Society. Your health insurer may support a program to help you quit.

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1999-2000; updates: 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007 Women's Heart Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited. The information contained in this Women's Heart Foundation (WHF) Web site is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment, and WHF recommends consultation with your doctor or health care professional.