News Release

November 15, 2005

Contact: Jane Shaskan, 860-679-4777

No Butts About It

Great Tips for Quitting – Great American Smokeout November 17

FARMINGTON, CONN. – Don’t light up! Thursday, Nov. 17, is the Great American Smokeout. According to the American Cancer Society, cigarettes kill more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide and illegal drugs combined.

Health information is widely available, and for most smokers, they already know their habit is a bad one. Most smokers can benefit from good advice on how to break the habit, says UConn Health Center psychologist Dr. Julie Wagner, who offers these tips for success:

  • If you’re not ready to quit yet, that’s OK. Just increase your readiness by thinking about all the positive changes associated with a smoke-free lifestyle./li>
  • Set a quit date and stick to it. It doesn’t have to be Thursday.
  • Take it one step at a time. Set small achievable goals and make changes slowly. One day of nonsmoking can lead to more.
  • You don’t have to change everything at once. Think about gradually cutting down the number of cigarettes you smoke each day instead of going cold turkey.
  • Make quitting a priority. It takes time and commitment, and the benefits are far reaching.
  • Get rid of all cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays in your home, car, and place of work. Don’t let people smoke in your home or car. As much as possible, avoid places where you usually smoke.
  • Get support, not nagging, from your family and friends. Ask them to join you in smoke-free activities, help talk you through an urge, and point out the positive changes.
  • Quitting smoking is hard work. Don’t forget to praise and reward yourself for a job well done. Use the money you saved by quitting to have dinner at your favorite restaurant, buy a new outfit, or take a vacation.
  • Focus on the positive and think of all the benefits of not smoking:
    • Lungs will begin to clear; you’ll cough less and breathe easier.
    • The senses of smell and taste will improve.
    • You will smell better, and your environment, home, office, car, etc., will too.
    • You will save time and money. At $4.50 a pack, a daily smoker spends more than $1,600 a year on cigarettes.
    • Teeth will be whiter and breath fresher.
    • Better sleep.
    • Lower blood pressure.
    • You’ll live longer and lower your risk for cancer, heart attacks, and stroke.
    • Cigarettes will no longer control you.

Staying smoke-free can be a challenge and requires continued commitment and vigilance, says Dr. Wagner. “If you’re around people who smoke or who continue to offer you cigarettes, or if you have an intense urge to smoke, remove yourself from the situation, change the subject, leave the room, and occupy your mind with something else,” says Dr. Wagner. “Remind yourself, ‘I don’t smoke.’ “

Asani Seawell, psychology intern in the Internal Medicine Associates Health Psychology program, assisted Dr. Wagner in preparing tips for breaking the smoking habit.

UConn Health includes the schools of medicine and dental medicine, the UConn Medical Group, University Dentists, and John Dempsey Hospital. Home to Bioscience Connecticut, UConn Health pursues a mission of providing outstanding health care education in an environment of exemplary patient care, research and public service. More information about UConn Health is available at

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