Skip to navigation Skip to Content

Myth: Failed attempts to quit smoking mean you’ll never quit

​​​​We hear this all the time, but in fact, the average smoker tries to quit seven times before quitting for good. Even if you've failed to quit, don't let that deter you from trying again.

"Each time people quit, they learn things that could be useful for their next attempt at quitting," said William Benn, M.D., a family physician at Marshfield Clinic Stevens Point Center.

"The first time you try to quit is practice, the second time is practice and the third or fourth time you get it right. You have to keep trying."

Another myth we hear from long-time smokers is that the damage is already done, so why bother quitting? Here's why: Quitting smoking at any age brings health benefits. Just within a month, you will feel like you have more air, because you do. Within a year, your risk of having a heart attack will be cut by 50 percent.

If you've tried quitting "cold turkey," you know how hard that is. Smokers are much more likely to succeed at quitting if they take advantage of counseling and smoking cessation medications available through their doctor.

It's also not enough to cut back on cigarettes, or switch to "light" or "mild" brands, because you'll likely just draw more deeply and smoke more of each cigarette.

Help is available for anyone who wants to quit. For more information, talk to your doctor or call the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line, 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669). The Quit Line, available 24 hours a day, is sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Call for phone coaching and information about free medications.