Surveys have found that 70 percent of current smokers want to quit, but are unable to do so. Quitting smoking is an incredibly difficult thing to do, and most people need assistance. Getting help to quit smoking either through counseling and/or the use of nicotine replacement therapies can greatly increases the chances of successfully quitting smoking.  Quitting tobacco use is difficult and may require multiple attempts, as users often relapse because of withdrawal symptoms, which include irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and increased appetite.

Health Benefits of Quitting

Other benefits of quitting include the following:

  • People who stop smoking greatly reduce their risk of dying prematurely. Benefits are greater for people who stop at earlier ages, but cessation is beneficial at all ages.
  • Smoking cessation lowers the risk for lung and other types of cancer. The risk for developing cancer declines with the number of years of smoking cessation. 
  • Risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease is reduced after smoking cessation. 
  • Coronary heart disease risk is substantially reduced within 1 to 2 years of cessation. 
  • Cessation reduces respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. The rate of decline in lung function is slower among persons who quit smoking. 
  • Women who stop smoking before or during pregnancy reduce their risk for adverse reproductive outcomes such as infertility or having a low-birth-weight baby.

Tobacco Use Cessation Methods

Brief clinical interventions by health care providers can increase the chances of successful cessation, as can counseling and behavioral cessation therapies. Treatments with more person-to-person contact and intensity (e.g., more time with counselors) are more effective. Individual, group, or telephone counseling are all effective.  Pharmacological therapies found to be effective for treating tobacco dependence include nicotine replacement products (e.g., gum, inhaler, patch) and non-nicotine medications, such as bupropion SR (Zyban®) and varenicline tartrate (Chantix™).

Click here to find out what legislation the MATCH Coalition is advocating for that will help people quit smoking. MATCH is dedicated to increasing the availability of and access to resources that will help people quit smoking.