What's in a Cigarette?

Your body gets more than nicotine when you smoke.

There are more than 4,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke. Some of them are also in wood varnish, the insect poison DDT, arsenic, nail polish remover, and rat poison.

The ashes, tar, gases, and other poisons in cigarettes harm your body over time. They damage your heart and lungs. They also make it harder for you to taste and smell things, and fight infections.

Why Quit? (find here)

Think about why you want to quit

Decide for sure that you want to quit. Promise yourself that you'll do it. It's OK to have mixed feelings. Don't let that stop you. There will be times every day that you don't feel like quitting. You will have to stick with it anyway.

Find reasons to quit that are important to you. Think of more than just health reasons. For example, think of:

How much money you'll save by not buying cigarettes

The time you'll have for yourself instead of taking cigarette breaks, rushing out to buy a pack, or searching for a light
Not being short of breath or coughing as much
Setting a better example for your children

Write down all the reasons why you want to quit. List ways to fight the urge to smoke, too. (You will find tips for coping later in this guide.) Keep your list where you'll see it often. Good places are:

Where you keep your cigarettes
In your wallet or purse
In the kitchen
In your car
When you reach for a cigarette you'll find your list. It will remind you why you want to stop.

Reasons for Quitting

Here are some examples of reasons to quit:

I will feel healthier right away.
I will have more energy and better focus.
My senses of smell and taste will be better.
I will have whiter teeth and fresher breath.
I will cough less and breathe better.

I will be healthier the rest of my life.
I will lower my risk for cancer, heart attacks, strokes, early death, cataracts, and skin wrinkling.

I will make my partner, friends, family, kids, grandchildren, and co-workers proud of me.

I will be proud of myself.
I will feel more in control of my life.
I will be a better role model for others.

I will have more money to spend.

I won't have to worry: "When will I get to smoke next?" or "What do I do when I'm in a smoke-free place?"

Why is Quitting So Hard?

Many ex-smokers say quitting was the hardest thing they ever did. Do you feel hooked? You're probably addicted to nicotine. Nicotine is in all tobacco products. It makes you feel calm and satisfied. At the same time, you feel more alert and focused. The more you smoke, the more nicotine you need to feel good. Soon, you don't feel "normal" without nicotine. It takes time to break free from nicotine addiction. It may take more than one try to quit for good. So don't give up too soon. You will feel good again.

Quitting is also hard because smoking is a big part of your life. You enjoy holding cigarettes and puffing on them. You may smoke when you are stressed, bored, or angry. After months and years of lighting up, smoking becomes part of your daily routine. You may light up without even thinking about it.

Smoking goes with other things, too. You may light up when you feel a certain way or do certain things. For example:

Drinking coffee, wine, or beer
Talking on the phone
Being with other smokers
You may even feel uncomfortable not smoking at times or in places where you usually have a cigarette. These times and places are called "triggers." That's because they trigger, or turn on, cigarette cravings. Breaking these habits is the hardest part of quitting for some smokers.

Quitting isn't easy. Just reading this guide won't do it. It may take several tries. But you learn something each time you try. It takes will power and strength to beat your addiction to nicotine. Remember that millions of people have quit smoking for good. You can be one of them!