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Tips for Quitting Smoking (Cardiovascular)

Quitting smoking is a gift to yourself, one of the best things you can do to keep your heart disease from getting worse. Smoking reduces oxygen flow to your heart by speeding the buildup of plaque and changing the health of your blood vessels. This increases your risk for heart attack, also known as acute myocardial infarction, or AMI. Quitting helps reduce smoking's harmful effects. You may have tried to quit before, but don’t give up. Try again. Many smokers try 4 or 5 times before they succeed. It is never too early to benefit from smoking cessation, especially if you already have chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol that put you at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

Four people sitting at conference room table, talking.
You’ll have the best chance of success if you join a stop-smoking group and have the support of your doctor, family and friends.
Line up help

  • Ask for the support of your family and friends.

  • Join a smoking cessation class, or ask your healthcare provider for a referral to a psychologist who specializes in helping people quit smoking. 

  • Ask your healthcare provider about nicotine replacement products and prescription medicines that can help you quit.

Set a quit date

  • Choose a date within the next 2 to 4 weeks.

  • After picking a day, mark it in bold letters on a calendar.


Your quit list

Ideas to stop smoking include:

  1. Start by giving up cigarettes at the times you least need them.

  2. Keeping a piece of fruit close by at the times you are most vulnerable to reach for a cigarette.

  3. Using a nicotine replacement product instead of a cigarette.

Write down a few more ideas.


Set limits

  • Limit where you can smoke. Pick one room or a porch, and smoke only in that place.

  • Make smoking outdoors a house rule. Other smokers won’t tempt you as much.

  • Speak to smokers around you about your intent to stop smoking so they can show consideration for you and limit their smoking around you.

  • Hang a list of  “quit benefits” in the spot where you smoke. Put one on the refrigerator and one on your car dashboard.


For more information


  • National Cancer Institute Smoking Quitline: 877-44U-QUIT (877-448-7848)


Online Medical Reviewer: Fetterman, Anne, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Gandelman, Glenn, MD, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Image reviewed by StayWell art team.
Date Last Reviewed: 3/26/2016
© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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