Stage One: Thinking About Being Tobacco-Free

Even if you're not ready to quit, reviewing this information will help you think about what it means to be tobacco free.

Why Does Not Using Tobacco Matter?

Your decision to quit could be one of the most important you'll ever make for your future health and well-being. Smoking and tobacco-related health complications are the single largest cause of preventable, premature death in the US. The American Cancer Society estimates cigarettes are responsible for over 400,000 deaths each year. Smoking causes a significant increase in the risk for cancer (lung, larynx, esophagus), chronic bronchitis, and emphysema as well as diseases of the heart and coronary arteries. Chewing tobacco and using snuff also dramatically increase your risk for cancers of the mouth and throat.

The good news is that once you quit your body begins healing itself almost immediately. This includes a reduction in your risk for cancer, heart attack, and stroke. If you also begin exercising and eating better, the improvements will be even more dramatic.

Quitting tobacco is challenging — experts recommend you:

  • Talk to your doctor
  • Make a plan
  • Set a quit date and gradually phase out tobacco
  • Get support from family and friends
  • Eat healthy and exercise frequently
  • Cut back on alcohol and caffeine
  • Reward yourself for reaching goals.

Print out the Take-Action Form Think About It to record your own thoughts about quitting and strategies for success.

When you complete the activities in this stage, continue on to Stage Two: The Benefits of Being Tobacco-Free.