Penn Heart and Vascular

Heart and Vascular Patient Information

Myths and Facts About Quitting Smoking
How to quit smoking comfortably

Knowing the truth about the most common quitting misconceptions is the first step on the path to quitting comfortably.

MYTH: Will I gain a lot of weight when I stop smoking?

FACT: This is a very common concern among smokers. Not everyone gains weight when they stop smoking. In reality,

  • 1/3 of smokers who quit will gain weight.
  • 1/3 of those who quit smoking will maintain their weight
  • 1/3 of people will lose weight.
MYTH: How will I be able to deal with stress without smoking?

FACT: The truth is that smokers' level of stress is actually HIGHER than the stress of a non-smoker. We only smoke for a short time during the day. During this time, we may feel relaxed. However, soon we need another cigarette. The anticipation of not smoking between cigarettes causes stress to go up between cigarettes. This means that smokers tend to experience slightly above average levels of daily stress.

To help deal with the stress, try to take a short break a few times a day. Allow yourself a luxury. Take a walk, stretch, read, or visit a friend.

MYTH: Can't I just quit by stopping cold turkey?

FACT: Sure some people are lucky enough to be able to quit cold turkey. However, for most people quitting cold turkey is extremely difficult and uncomfortable process. When you have an understanding about your smoking (i.e. routine, triggers, cues) and find tools and resources to help you, you will have a greater chance for success in staying smoke-free. Plus you can quit much more comfortably.

MYTH: But I like to smoke. Can't I just smoke a light cigarette, since it is safer?

FACT: If we could magically create safe cigarettes, who wouldn't like to smoke? Right now, there are NO safe cigarettes. Many smokers are mislead into thinking that light cigarettes are not as harmful as other brands.

Light cigarettes are lower in nicotine than regular cigarettes, but they contain the same 4000 harmful chemicals including 400 cancercausing chemicals.

The "light" effect is achieved through air dilution using ventilation holes near the filter. Regular smokers who switch to these low tar and low nicotine cigarettes tend to compensate by:

  • Smoking more cigarettes.
  • Inhaling more deeply.
  • Covering up the ventilation holes.
MYTH: I play Bridge every week with my friends. Everyone smokes during the game. Will I have to give up Bridge and lose my friends who smoke?

FACT: Quitting smoking even when other people around you are smoking does not have to be hard. Believe it or not, you can go to social events without smoking, but it will be tough at first. You need to give yourself time to prepare for how you are going to handle the situation. You don't have to lose your friends. Let everyone know that you are quitting and that you will need their help to succeed. Work with them to find a place where they can smoke without making it hard on you. Working together with family, friends, and co-workers, can help you quit!

MYTH: But don't I have to wait until I really want to quit before I can be successful?

FACT: Being reluctant to quit, even though you would really like to, is basically the definition of addiction. While everyone wishes they could quit, most of us also wish we could just keep on smoking, only without all the problems that come along with it. The conflict can last for many years, sometimes until after a smoker has already become sick. Don't wait until your reluctance goes away. Be honest with yourself and your family about how you feel and get information on quitting comfortably and effectively.

Quit Smoking With Help From Penn Medicine

Penn Medicine has a Comprehensive Smoking Treatment Program that provides individualized treatment to help smokers quit safely and comfortably. Our multidisciplinary team of specialists offer treatment that is respectful and supportive, without guilt or pressure. All of Penn's smoking cessation services are reimbursed by most major insurance carriers.

Contact Us

For an appointment or more information about quitting smoking, please call 888-PENN-STOP (888-736-7867).