University Health Center, University of Georgia
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How To Quit Smoking

How Do I Start?

You can call one of the health center's specialists to get help, or you can stop by the Health Promotion department, located on the 1st floor of the Health Center, and pick up the University Health Center Quit Kit, which gives you written material on quitting. The following information includes tips on quitting on your own.

Make a Plan to Quit

It is important to assess the costs and benefits of quitting. By doing this activity you will be able to see what barriers and motivations you will have when quitting.

List the benefits of using tobacco vs. the benefits of quitting. Do the benefits of using outweigh the benefits of quitting? If yes, how will you deal with the barriers to quit?

Set a start date for quitting tobacco. Consider ahead the situations that will trigger your desire to smoke. What will you do in these situations?

Schedule an appointment date and time to speak with a Tobacco Cessation Specialist at the University Health Center.

Other Quit Tips

  • Pick up a Quit Kit from the Health Promotion Department on the 1st floor of the health center.
  • Start exercising before your start date. This can help alleviate stress as well as help to prevent weight gain.
  • Know that it isn't easy to quit! It can take time and sometimes several attempts.
  • Every time you get the urge to use tobacco - stop. Pause long enough to feel the urge and to make a choice between using and not using. If you choose to use tobacco, go ahead. If you choose not to use tobacco, wait until the next time you feel the urge. Keep repeating the sequence -urge . . . stop . . . consider . . . choose . . . act.
  • Keep your tobacco products - put them in a different place from where you normally do so you will have to think... and make a choice.
  • Do whatever you have to do to get through the first few days. Eat or sleep as much as you need, but after that, no substitutes. People who substitute eating or sleeping for using tobacco continue to be afraid of the urge to use it and never learn that the urge is manageable.
  • Don't drink alcohol for 3 weeks - it affects your judgment so you are more likely to use tobacco without thinking about it.
  • If you drink coffee or tea, keep on doing it - you are working on becoming a former tobacco user, not a former coffee drinker!
  • Drink about two ounces of juice every 2 hours. The carbohydrate energy in juice helps make up for not having the stimulating effect of nicotine.
  • Drink lots of water to flush the nicotine out of your system.
  • Get plenty of sleep - it is easier to change behavior when you are rested.
  • Put yourself first - relieve yourself of as many responsibilities as you can.

Weight Gain After Quitting

Many tobacco users, especially women, worry that if they quit, they will gain weight. While using tobacco may keep your weight down, it may be altering your figure. Research shows a strong association between smoking and high waist-to-hip ratio, which means more fat in your abdominal area. Nicotine does increase metabolism, blunts taste for many, and decreases appetite. Most people do gain some weight in the first 3-4 weeks after quitting, as appetite and sense of taste return and metabolism slows, but you CAN do some things to minimize this:

  • Begin increasing your physical activity. This will help your metabolic rate stay higher, reduce tension and increase your level of energy.
  • Start working on a lower fat diet with lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
  • Eat breakfast - eating several times throughout the day can help you avoid those late night binges.
  • Drink lots of water.

For more information about eating well while quitting, contact Angie Ruhlen, Health Promotion Department Nutritionist, 706-542-8690.


The process of quitting the use of tobacco can be tough, but it can be done. Fortunately, there are a number of options to help you quit and the UGA Health Center staff can discuss these with you. Ready to take the first step? Call any of the following tobacco use cessation specialists to make an appointment to discuss your options. There is no charge for students who paid their health fee.

Fran Beall, Nurse Practitioner   706-542-8654
Angela Bouknecht, Physician Assistant   706-542-8650
Michael Brugger, Physician Assistant   706-542-8654

You may also want to call the Tobacco Quit Line at 1-877-270-STOP. This service provides free counseling, a resource library, support and referral services for tobacco users in Georgia.

Georgia Tobacco Quit Line
Unite Georgia

National Cancer Society