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This information was reviewed and approved by Russell P. Bowler, MD, PhD, Irina Petrache, MD (3/1/2021).

Giving up smoking is the single most important thing you can do to help control your disease and prevent further damage to your lungs.

Cigarette smoke contains about 4,000 harmful toxins that can irritate airways and damage lung tissue. When you quit smoking, your breathing and response to your medicines may noticeably improve. Even if you have smoked many years, you will benefit from quitting. And don't be discouraged if you have tried to quit — one time or many times — in the past. More services and quitting aids are now available to help you quit and remain smoke-free.


Steps for Successfully Quitting Cigarettes

  • Make a firm commitment to quit, and start thinking of yourself as someone who doesn't smoke.

  • Talk to your health care provider about quitting and a plan to help you quit. Your provider can discuss the use of quit smoking medicines and your treatment plan for COPD.

  • Consider participating in a program that provides guidance and support for learning to live without cigarettes. Every state offers free telephone counseling through the Quitline. The Quitline number is 1.800.QUIT NOW or 1.800.784.8669. In addition, there are many online and face-to-face group quit smoking programs.

  • National Jewish Health offers 1-to-1 smoking cessation consultation, a class and internet content to help you quit smoking.


Avoiding Smoking Once You've Quit

Once you stop smoking, it is important to avoid being around tobacco smoke. This will help decrease irritation to your lungs. Plus, a smoke-free environment is healthier for everyone! Discuss the importance of making your environment smoke-free with family members and friends. Encourage family members and friends who smoke to quit. If they are not ready to quit, ask them not to smoke in your home or vehicle or in your presence. 

Learn more about how to quit smoking.

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