You Can Quit! And we hope this new little Public Service Announcement (PSA) will help you on that path: 

Deb says,”you can quit!”

What’s your vision for quitting? Can you see yourself, smoke free?  There are many possible good reasons: influencing others, feeling better, or sticking around for someone you love. Pictured to the right, Deb (the star of the PSA) who rode and smoked like a Marlborough Man…  She believed in you enough to record the simple message on quitting smoking…  You. Can. Quit.  


In a nutshell, you follow your vision for quitting, apply skills, meet the need, partner, be generous sharing the credit with anyone who’s helping you, measure how you’re doing, and stay the course even if you have a little setback along the road to success.  You. Can. Quit. Congratulations on taking the first step!

1. VISION – Have a vision for quitting. What motivates you? Health? Role Model? Something else? It’s YOUR vision. Write it down. Tape it to your mirror. Frame your Vision Statement and bring it to work!

I Quit Smoking Because _______________________

2. SPECIAL SKILLS – Use them all. Planning (quit date, strategies for support and for avoiding triggers).  Convening (gathering a support group). Set design (so your environment has a look-and-feel of a nonsmoker).  You’re skilled with words, so repeat positive ones, such as “I can’t stand smoking. Cigarettes taste terrible. So glad I quit!”

3. CHASM – Removing cigs will leave a gap and some needs to fill. Take stock about what needs they met, and find healthy alternatives. Would nicotine patches help? What about the rituals (e.g., every day at a specific time you went to the store to buy your cigarettes, or every morning you rolled your own), then what rituals will you create, to take their place and fill the chasm? Would chewing gum or puzzles help? Be creative. You can even try  health-promoting activities, such as tai-chi or yoga, to fill the void. Studies show that for a few weeks you may be hungrier than normal,  so fill that chasm by carrying around something – perhaps healthy snacks to occupy hands and mouth.

4. PARTNERSHIP – Support groups let us partner with others in the same boat and that helps with success. Your health care provider can be your partner in quitting, providing nicotine patches or prescription pills that can help ease the transition.  You can find others to help you too, including friends, family, counselors, clergy, short-term therapy providers, hypnotists… even massage therapy.  You might think about stepping away from some “partners in smoking” if they’re not attempting quitting with you.  The web can be your partner, with pages such as this one and!

5. CREDIT SHARING – After you’ve quit, speak up about how far you’ve gotten, and who helped. You may succeed the first time. Throw a party for those who helped.  And if you relapse now and again before quitting for good, anyone you applauded for helping last time is likely going to be in a mood to help again, cheering you forward, in your lifelong journey for best health and wellness.

6. MEASURE  –  Start by having a look at how much cigarettes are costing daily, (if you smoke 1 pack a day at $7, that’s $2,352 per year, $23,520 in ten years).  Anyone who smokes 1/4 pack a day is considered addicted to cigaretes. What would that exact dollar amount buy you, if you had it in your pocket right now?  That’s one good (and easy) way to measure the power of quitting smoking, without ever even touching the effect cigarettes have on your body.   You quit, you save!

  • How much do you smoke per day?    $_____ pack  [1/4 pack is 5 cigs. 1/2 pack is 10 cigs. 1 pack = 20 cigs. 1.5 packs = 30 cigs. 2 packs = 40 cigs, etc.]
  • What is the average cost per day?      $ _____[number of packs times their price, for example if cigs cost $7, half a pack would be $3.50 and 1/4 pack would be $1.75 ]
  • What’s the average cost per year?      $_____ [multiply the daily price, times 365]
  • What’s the average cost in 10 years? $_____ [ten times the ‘average cost per year’]

Speaking of measurements… quitting helps immediately, lowering blood pressure and pulse in only 20 minutes, and returning bloodstream carbon monoxide levels to normal within a day. In 3 months the risk of heart attack falls, and lungs function better. Long term, you lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer.   Lots of  priceless benefits from quitting!

7. STAYING POWER – to stay the course, you’ll need to get through the hurdle, and then get into a new groove. this includes:

  • Avoid Triggers – whatever it was that set you smoking. If alcohol is a trigger, consider avoiding the bar scene for a while. If coffee is a trigger, try tea.
  • Get Moving – with some gentle exercise. Make healthy food choices, without trying to force yourself onto a new diet regime.
  • Be Your Own Best Friend – Being gentle and loving with yourself can be a great help.  The first bit is the hardest, so that’s when to be kindest. According to the American Lung Association, nicotine leaves the system within 24 hours, but during that time you may feel irritable and depressed.   If you can keep in mind that it’s a good sign and will pass, you can get through it more easily. What do you do for a friend who is down? Do you plan a movie night, with popcorn? Do you have a hot bath? Be that helpful friend… to yourself.
  • Who cares if it takes an attempt or two (or more) until you get there. You didn’t just stand up one day and walk perfectly. It took time to learn. It took time for your body to learn smoking and it’ll take time to unlearn.  For years, WebMD offered this positive spin on a relapse to smoking after trying to quit: next time you’ll do better: “the odds are increasingly in your favor the more attempts you make to quit smoking cigarettes.”  (

 “Hang in there! You’ll do great!  If you put as much energy into  the quitting as you did the smoking, there’s nothing that can stop you!”  – Deb O’Keefe (1954 – 2013)

You. Can. Quit.  This PSA was produced as a public service and in partnership with UCSF’s Springer Laboratory.  We applaud you – and we’d love to hear from you about how this resource has helped, or how to make it better. You rule, cigs drool! Get more tips for quitting at