FAQs About Quitting

Lots of people want to quit smoking, but they have questions about it. Here are some answers to common questions.

“I don’t think I can live without cigarettes. What can I do?”

It’s common for people to think they can’t function without smoking. And it’s also normal to be worried about or afraid of quitting. Many people view smoking as a central part of their lives—so quitting can seem overwhelming. Instead of trying to stop all at once, you might try to cut back on smoking over time as you get closer to your quit date.

Make a list of the reasons why you want to quit. Keep it handy for motivation. Do you want to be healthier? Save money? Keep your family safe? Focus on the ways that your life will be better when you no longer smoke. Pick a quit day in the future, and work toward it. Get tips to manage your quit day.

“I have a lot of stress in my life right now. Shouldn’t I wait to quit when I’m not as stressed?”

There is no drug in cigarettes that magically gets rid of stress. Stress is something that you will have to deal with for the rest of your life. And in the long run, quitting smoking can reduce stress.

Talk to your health care provider about ways to manage stress. You can also try exercise or a meditation class to learn how to deal with stress. Learn ways to cope with your emotions without smoking.

“Well, my doctor didn't say anything about my smoking, so…it can’t be that bad, right?”

Unfortunately, many physicians don’t address tobacco use for a variety of reasons. But don’t take that as their approval that you should continue to smoke. The scientific evidence is very clear: smoking is the leading cause of disease and death.

If your health care provider doesn’t bring up your smoking during your next visit, ask how quitting can improve your health and ask what they can do to help you quit.

“The last time I quit, my depression got worse. I’m just starting to feel good now. Will I backslide?”

Depression is one symptom of nicotine withdrawal in the early weeks and months after quitting. But here’s the good news: you can quit without depression coming back. And after you quit, you’re likely to see improvements in your mood and quality of life. Learn about smoking and depression.

If you have a history of depression, it’s important that you work with your doctor. This way, your medication levels can be monitored. Talk about your quit plan with your health care provider before you get started.

“Will the stress of quitting increase my chances of drinking again?”

People with substance use problems who quit smoking are more likely to stay sober than those who keep smoking.

Lots of veterans have successfully quit smoking and drinking. Want to talk to someone about it? You can join a quit smoking group at your local VA, or find supportive friends or family that have quit. And you can call 1-855-QUIT-VET to make a plan with a quit smoking counselor.

“How can I quit when everyone else in my group home smokes?”

Many people quit every day, even if they live with other people who smoke. You can create a plan so that you will be able to be comfortable in your home. Here are some suggestions for dealing with this situation:

  • Have a meeting with your housemates to tell them you’re quitting.
  • Talk with them about where they will and won’t smoke.
  • Ask them not to leave cigarettes or dirty ashtrays where you can find them. Explain that these might trigger you to smoke.

Talk with your housemates—they may be interested in quitting, too.