Long-time Smokers

I've been smoking for so long. I'm not sure I can quit even if I wanted to.

Even if you have been smoking for most of your life, you can still quit. Many lifelong smokers have quit successfully. But most of them had to try quitting more than once. If you're in the "tried that, no thanks" camp, just remember that every time you try to quit, you learn more about what works and what doesn't work for you. Your lung cancer scan is a perfect opportunity to put what you have learned to work. Even if you've tried quitting before and it hasn't "stuck," that doesn't mean you won't succeed when you try again.

I just don't have the willpower. I might not even want to quit.

It's ok and normal to be uncertain about quitting.

Here's a secret: Quitting is not just a matter of willpower or wanting to quit.

Here's why: Smoking actually changes your brain.

When you smoke, nicotine receptors in your brain are activated, or "turned on." The more and longer you smoke, the more those receptors grow and multiply. It's like feeding little monsters in your brain. After a while, they get used to getting their regular dose of nicotine. When you don't smoke, they get very angry and make you feel anxious, grumpy, or frustrated. That's withdrawal. In other words, your own brain is working against your efforts to quit. See why it is so hard?

Luckily, we have tools that that can tip the odds in your favor.

Whether your scan results are positive or negative, just having the scan can be the motivation you need to decide to quit. Deciding to quit is an important step, but it isn’t the only step. It takes time for your brain to re-adjust to your new ex-smoker status. And it takes time for those nicotine receptor monsters to calm down. Medication, advice and support from other ex-smokers, and a personal plan can make it much easier to make this quit the one that will stick.