For Heart Event Survivors

Becoming an ex-smoker, for good

You'll look and feel better, improve your health, save money - and prolong your life. But it's probably not the "why" quit smoking that you're struggling with. It's the "how." Here are some methods you may have heard about, and some new ones, too.

The tried and true

Behavioral therapy. A therapist can help you identify your triggers and develop a plan to overcome cravings. Building a strong support system can also provide the emotional support you need.

Gum, patches, and prescriptions. Nicotine gum, patches, inhalers, sprays, and lozenges work by giving you nicotine without using tobacco. There are also prescription drugs that your doctor can prescribe to help you quit.

Cold turkey. About 90% of people who try to quit smoking do it without outside support, although it's not always the most effective method. Only about 10% of people who try to quit this way succeed on their first try.

Quitting

Online resources. Smokefree.gov has a wealth of tools and tips to help you quit. You can put together a personalized Quit Plan, and if you sign up for their SmokefreeTXT program, you'll get encouragement and advice 24/7 via text message. Facebook also has a number of active stop-smoking communities like Quit Smoking Today, which offers motivational posts as well as the support of the group.

Apps. Your phone is probably your constant companion, so why not let it help you quit? The Livestrong MyQuit Coach allows you to personalize the method you want to use to quit, and lets you track your cravings and make resolutions. With Quit Now!, you enter the amount you smoke, cost per pack and the time you quit - then the app displays your stats, using this information as motivation.

Set yourself up for success

Whether you choose one method or a combination of a few, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of quitting for good. Change up your activities that were connected to smoking, like taking a walk instead of a cigarette break. Hang out with non-smokers. Eat low-calorie, healthy foods like carrot and celery sticks when the urge to smoke strikes. Finally, don't focus on what you are missing; think about everything you are gaining - for your health, your heart and your life.

"My father and I have both lost weight and exercise regularly, and I have quit smoking."
James U., I am ProHeart Community Member