Teens Thinking About Quitting Tobacco: Care Instructions

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Maybe you started using tobacco to fit in with your friends. Maybe family members smoke or chew. Whatever the reason you started using tobacco, there are lots of reasons to stop.

  • You'll save money. Add up how much you spend on tobacco each week or month. What else could you do with that money?
  • You'll live a healthier life. And you might set a good example for friends or siblings.
  • Your hair, clothes, and breath will not smell of smoke.

Are any of these your reasons? Thinking about why you want to quit is a great first step.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you prepare to quit using tobacco?

It's hard to quit smoking. But if you know what to expect, it can help. These are some common situations you may face and some ideas for how to handle them.

  • You may crave nicotine. You can take medicine to help with the cravings. Or you can distract yourself by doing something else, such as chewing gum, dancing, or listening to music.
  • Tobacco may be a big part of your social life. If your friends use tobacco, you may need to spend less time with them. It may help to find new friends who don't use tobacco.
  • People will offer you tobacco. Learn how to say no. You can:
    • Look the person in the eye and say "No, thanks." Sometimes that's all you need to do. Say it as many times as you need to.
    • Say why you don't want to use tobacco. Here are some examples: "I'm trying to save money," "I don't like how it makes me smell," or "Smoking makes my asthma worse."
    • Ask for respect. Make it clear that you don't want to use tobacco and that continuing to ask you shows a lack of respect for your opinions. You could say something like: "I'm cool with my decision, so don't ask me again."
  • You may worry about gaining weight. You can make this less likely by being active and eating healthy foods.
  • It may be harder to quit alone. Support can increase your chances of success.
    • Find a friend who will quit with you.
    • Ask your friends and family for support. Ask those who use tobacco not to do it in front of you.
    • Get more support. For example, call the national tobacco quitline: 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). Try a program like SmokeFreeTXT at www.smokefree.gov to get text messages with advice and support. Or try a free app like the National Cancer Institute's QuitGuide. It helps you track your progress and share your successes.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You need help to quit using tobacco.
  • You want to talk more about quitting tobacco.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.