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Tobacco smoke contains a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals; hundreds are harmful, and about 70 can cause cancer.


Smoking increases the risk for serious health problems, many diseases, and death. People who stop smoking greatly reduce their risk for disease and early death. Although the health benefits are greater for people who stop at earlier ages, there are benefits at any age.


You are never too old to quit.

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  • Smoking leads to disease and disability and harms nearly every organ of the body.

  • Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death.

  • The tobacco industry spends billions of dollars each year on marketing cigarettes.

  • Smoking costs the United States billions of dollars each year.

  • States do not spend much of the money they get from tobacco taxes and lawsuits to prevent smoking and help smokers quit. CDC recommends that states spend 12% of those funds on tobacco control.

  • In 2018, 13.7% of all adults (34.2 million people) currently smoked cigarettes: 15.6% of men, 12.0% of women.

  • Thousands of young people start smoking cigarettes every day.

  • Many adult cigarette smokers want to quit smoking.

Tobacco Facts

Health Benefits of Quitting Tobacco: 

  • Lowered risk for lung cancer and many other types of cancer.

  • Reduced risk for heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease (narrowing of the blood vessels outside your heart).

  • Reduced heart disease risk within 1 to 2 years of quitting.

  • Reduced respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. While these symptoms may not disappear, they do not continue to progress at the same rate among people who quit compared with those who continue to smoke.

  • Reduced risk of developing some lung diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, one of the leading causes of death in the United States).

  • Reduced risk for infertility in women of childbearing age. Women who stop smoking during pregnancy also reduce their risk of having a low birth weight baby.


Nicotine Dependence

Most smokers become addicted to nicotine, a drug that is found naturally in tobacco. More people in the United States are addicted to nicotine than to any other drug. Research suggests that nicotine may be as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol. People who stop smoking often start again because of withdrawal symptoms, stress, and weight gain.

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms may include: 

  • Feeling irritable, angry, or anxious

  • Having trouble thinking or concentrating

  • Craving tobacco products

  • Feeling hungrier than usual

  • Having headaches

  • Increased sweating

  • Feeling sad or down

  • Feeling tired or groggy

  • Having trouble sleeping

  • Having intense cravings for e-cigarettes

Signs of Addiction

  •  Cravings to use e-cigarettes or other tobacco products

  •  Feeling anxious or irritable

  •  Continuing to vape despite negative consequences

  •  Going out of one’s way to get e-cigarettes

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Young people who use e-cigarettes are four times more likely to start smoking cigarettes than their peers who do not vape. On top of that, e-cigarette use among young people, many of whom were not smokers in the first place, has skyrocketed in recent years, jumping 78% among high schoolers between 2017 and 2018 alone.

Nicotine levels in e-cigarettes are highly variable, with some reaching levels near combustible cigarettes. Nicotine is harmful to developing brains: younger users are more likely to become addicted, have more difficulty quitting and may be at higher risk for addiction to other substances in the future.

Truth_E-Cigarette_FactSheet 2019_Update_
Teens & Vaping

What are e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are devices that heat a liquid into an aerosol that the user inhales. The liquid usually has nicotine and flavoring in it, and other additives. The nicotine in e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes is addictive. E-cigarettes are considered tobacco products because most of them contain nicotine, which comes from tobacco.

Besides nicotine, e-cigarettes can contain harmful and potentially harmful ingredients, including:

  • ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs

  • flavorants such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease

  • volatile organic compounds

  • heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead

Adolescent years are times of important brain development. Brain development begins during the growth of the fetus in the womb and continues through childhood and to about age 25. Nicotine exposure during adolescence and young adulthood can cause addiction and harm the developing brain.

E-cigarettes are very popular with young people. Their use has grown dramatically in the last five years. Today, more high school students use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes. The use of e-cigarettes is higher among high school students than adults.


Tips for Parents

Talk with your teen about e-cigs. The environment in your home plays a big role in your child’s decisions Keep it healthy to help kids avoid harmful habits.

  • If you smoke or vape, try quitting. Teens report that one of the top reasons they try e-cigarettes is that a friend or family member uses them. Share the reasons why you want to quit, and ask your family for their support as you start your journey.

  •  Establish a tobacco-free home. Don’t allow smoking or vaping in your home. Make sure to ban smoking and vaping in your car too.

  •  Steer clear of smoking and vaping in public places. Avoid restaurants, parks, and other locations that allow people to smoke or vape.

  •  Set family health goals each week. Take a walk together around the neighborhood, try a new vegetable each week at dinner, do one-minute yoga stretches together, or challenge everyone to drink more water. Working as a team keeps it fun!

Talk with Your Teen About E-cigarettes: A Tip Sheet for Parents

Nicotine addiction on the teenage brain:

Parent Resources


Content For Social Media (Facebook, Insta, etc.)

Printed material

Articles on Vaping

  • How to quit vaping

  • Your First Day without Vaping

  • Deal with Vape Cravings

  • Understand your vaping Triggers

  • Vaping Addition and Nicotine Withdrawal

  • Anxiety, Stress, and Vaping

  • Depression and Vaping

Vaping/Ecigarette facts

Addiction and Cessation Resources for Schools and Teens

  • INDEPTH Program: American Lung Association (ALA) alternative to teen nicotine suspension or citation

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1. Find Your Reason

To get motivated, you need a powerful, personal reason to quit. It may be to protect your family from secondhand smoke.  Or lower your chance of getting lung cancer, heart disease, or other conditions. Or to look and feel younger. Choose a reason that is strong enough to outweigh the urge to light up.

2. Prepare Before You Go 'Cold Turkey'

There’s more to it than just tossing your cigarettes out. Smoking is an addiction. The brain is hooked on nicotine. Without it, you’ll go through withdrawal. Line up support in advance. Ask your doctor about all the methods that will help, such as quit-smoking classes and apps, counseling, medication, and hypnosis. You’ll be ready for the day you choose to quit.  

3. Consider Nicotine Replacement Therapy

When you stop smoking, nicotine withdrawal may give you headaches, affect your mood, or sap your energy. The craving for “just one drag” is tough. Nicotine replacement therapy can curb these urges. Studies show that nicotine gum, lozenges, and patches improve your chances of success when you’re also in a quit-smoking program.

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Tips for Quitting

4. Learn About Prescription Pills

Medicines can curb cravings and may also make smoking less satisfying if you do pick up a cigarette. Other drugs can ease withdrawal symptoms, such as depression or problems with concentration.

5. Lean On Your Loved Ones

Tell your friends, family, and other people you’re close to that you’re trying to quit. They can encourage you to keep going, especially when you’re tempted to light up. You can also join a support group or talk to a counselor. Behavioral therapy is a type of counseling that helps you identify and stick to quit-smoking strategies. Even a few sessions may help. 

6. Give Yourself a Break

One reason people smoke is that the nicotine helps them relax. Once you quit, you’ll need new ways to unwind. There are many options. You can exercise to blow off steam, tune in to your favorite music, connect with friends, treat yourself to a massage, or make time for a hobby. Try to avoid stressful situations during the first few weeks after you stop smoking.

7. Avoid Alcohol and Other Triggers

When you drink, it’s harder to stick to your no-smoking goal. So try to limit alcohol when you first quit. Likewise, if you often smoke when you drink coffee, switch to tea for a few weeks. If you usually smoke after meals, find something else to do instead, like brushing your teeth, taking a walk, texting a friend, or chewing gum.

8. Clean House

Once you’ve smoked your last cigarette, toss all of your ashtrays and lighters. Wash any clothes that smell like smoke, and clean your carpets, draperies, and upholstery. Use air fresheners to get rid of that familiar scent. If you smoked in your car, clean it out, too. You don’t want to see or smell anything that reminds you of smoking.

9. Try and Try Again

Many people try several times before giving up cigarettes for good. If you light up, don’t get discouraged. Instead, think about what led to your relapse, such as your emotions or the setting you were in. Use it as an opportunity to step up your commitment to quitting. Once you’ve made the decision to try again, set a “quit date” within the next month.

10. Get Moving

Being active can curb nicotine cravings and ease some withdrawal symptoms. When you want to reach for a cigarette, put on your inline skates or jogging shoes instead. Even mild exercise helps, such as walking your dog or pulling weeds in the garden. The calories you burn will also ward off weight gain as you quit smoking.

11. Eat Fruits and Veggies

Don’t try to diet while you give up cigarettes. Too much deprivation can easily backfire. Instead, keep things simple and try to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. These are good for your whole body.

12. Choose Your Reward

In addition to all the health benefits, one of the perks of giving up cigarettes is all the money you will save. There are online calculators that figure out how much richer you will be. Reward yourself by spending part of it on something fun.

13. Remember That Time Is on Your Side

As soon as you quit, you start to get immediate health benefits. After only 20 minutes, your heart rate goes back to normal. Within a day, your blood’s carbon monoxide level also falls back into place. In just 2-3 weeks, you will start to lower your odds of having a heart attack. In the long run, you will also lower your chance of getting lung cancer and other cancers.

How to help someone who smokes:

  1. Ask your friend or family member what they think they need to most.

  2. Ask them what the best thing you could do for them.

  3. Tell your friend that you know he or she can quit smoking for good, even if he or she has tried to quit before.

  4. For the first few days after the smoker quits, be ready to help. He or she may just want to talk, or your friend may want extra help when a tough situation arises, such as a party, or a crisis at home or work.

  5. Offer to call or visit to check on them. Ask how your friend is feeling, not just whether or not they are still off cigarettes.

  6. No nagging, scolding or preaching—that just doesn't work. Instead, let your friend know how much you admire them for trying to quit.

  7. Give lots of compliments and offer rewards for getting through a day, a week or a month without smoking. Rewards can be simple—flowers, a lunch treat, or even doing a chore for your friend around the house or office.

  8. Support your friend in establishing rewards for short-term and long-term milestones reached. Offer to make their favorite meal or pick up doing their chores while they relax.

  9. Do things together; go to a movie or take a walk. Stay away from places where other people may be smoking.

Five Reasons Why Calling a Quitline Can Be Key to Your Success

1. You can get help to stop smoking—free, with no judgment.

2. Quit coaches help create a plan that can work for you.

3. Quit coaches can help you get quit-smoking medications.

4. You can get helpful tips on:

  • How to deal with cravings and withdrawal.

  • How to get the right kind of help from your friends and family.

  • What websites, apps, and texting programs might help you quit.

  • Whether to use quit-smoking medication and how to use it.

5. And the best reason of all to use a quitline - you’re more likely to stay quit!


Quitline Services

Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) if you want help quitting. This is a free telephone support service that can help people who want to stop smoking or using tobacco. Callers are routed to their state quitlines, which offer several types of quit information and services. These may include:

  • Free support, advice, and counseling from experienced quitline coaches

  • A personalized quit plan

  • Practical information on how to quit, including ways to cope with nicotine withdrawal

  • The latest information about stop-smoking medications

  • Free or discounted medications (available for at least some callers in most states)

  • Referrals to other resources

  • Mailed self-help materials

Online Help

Get free help online, too.

  • For information on quitting, go to the Quit Smoking Resources page on CDC’s Smoking & Tobacco Use Web site.

  • Read inspiring stories about former smokers and their reasons for quitting at CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers Web site.

  • The I’m Ready to Quit! page links to many helpful resources.


  • CDC Quitline: 1-800-QUIT-NOW

  • For Young People: Text “DITCHJUUL” to 88709

  • For Families Helping Young People: Text “QUIT” to 202-899-7550

Available Languages
1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)

In Spanish

In Asian languages:

Mandarin and Cantonese:



Quit Guide

Other Resources

Cessation Resources
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