Looking Toward a Smokefree Future

Group of diverse people with sparklers

The start of a new year means a time to look back and reflect on the year behind us, and to think about the future. As you begin a new decade, keep in mind that it’s never too late to make a New Year’s resolution to quit smoking—no matter how long you’ve smoked!

Rico, a participant in the Tips From Former Smokers® (Tips) campaign, had to think hard about his future after doctors told him he had cancer at age 45. Rico had smoked cigarettes since he was 14 years old, but when he was diagnosed with cancer, he knew it was time to make a change. He wanted to be there for his wife and children. Even though it was a difficult journey, Rico told Tips: “I quit so I’d be more than a memory to my daughter.”

Like Rico, you can probably find many important reasons to quit smoking for good. A resolution to quit is a step toward a longer, healthier life full of new memories.

The Right Time is Right Now

Tips participant Rico and his daughter

Quitting smoking at any time can help improve your health, even if you already have a smoking-related disease, like Rico. Within a few months of quitting, you may find that you cough less and breathe easier. Within a year or two after quitting smoking, your risk for a heart attack will also decrease. As you stay smokefree for longer, you lower your risk of getting lung cancer and many other kinds of cancer.

Keep in mind that quitting for good is not easy, but it is possible.

“As a former smoker, I know how hard it is to quit,” Rico said. He added, “But it can be done.”

Support Leads to Greater Success

If you smoke and want to quit, you aren’t alone – about 7 in 10 US adults who smoke want to quit. Quitting doesn’t have to be a lonely battle. Rico had the support of his wife and sister, and motivated himself to keep trying by thinking about watching his kids grow up.

Along with friends and family, people who want to quit smoking have more options than ever for support. You can get free customized support where and when you need it, including help by phone, text, web, chat, or a smartphone app.

Contacting a state quitline can put you in touch with a live quit coach, and can also direct you to local cessation resources and possibly help you get nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as nicotine patches or gum. Studies show that using cessation counseling together with cessation medications gives people the best chance of quitting. Talking with your health care provider or a quitline coach can help you decide on the resources and tools that work best for you.

Put Smoking in the Past

Whether you started smoking last year, last decade, or last century, it’s not too late to quit. Even if you’ve tried before, now is the time to try again and look toward a healthier future.

If someone you love is trying to quit smoking, you can share the resources on this page with them. Let them know you’ll be there for them every step of the way on their quit journey.

Now 54 years old and still smokefree, Rico looks forward to spending more time with his wife and sister and seeing his children experience life.