Frequently Asked Questions:

Does quitting cold turkey work?

About 90% of people who try to quit smoking do it by going cold turkey. But it’s not the most effective and successful method. Only about 10% of people who try to quit this way succeed on their first try.

When do the withdrawal symptoms go away?

When you quit, it’s the lack of nicotine that creates the withdrawal symptoms quitters experience. Most people will need help for the first tough days of quitting.

Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal generally start within 2-3 hours after the last tobacco use and will peak about 2-3 days later. Symptoms may be severe depending on how long you have smoked and how many cigarettes you smoked each day.

You can get a milder form of nicotine withdrawal when you switch from regular to low-nicotine cigarettes or significantly cut down on the number of cigarettes smoked.

Won’t I gain weight if I quit smoking?

The majority of quitters don’t gain weight, and for those that do, it’s usually about five to eight pounds. Fear of weight gain is one of the biggest reasons smokers don’t want to quit. Often, pounds are put on when people substitute food for cigarettes. It’s important to remember that the health benefits of quitting are so much greater than any risks from weight gain.

Here are a few things to do if you’re trying to quit:

  • Don’t try crash diets. They add to your stress and rarely work for the long haul. Watch your calories and get more physical activity.
  • Use low-calorie treats to help deal with your cigarette cravings. Things like carrots and apple slices, as well as sugar-free candy and gum can help.
  • Drink plenty of water. Drinking water before and during a meal helps you feel full.


I’ve smoked for a long time, so isn’t the damage already done?

Even if you’re older, quitting smoking has immediate benefits to your health. Your circulation improves and your lungs start to repair the damage. There is strong evidence that quitting smoking even late in life not only adds years, but can improve your quality of life immensely.

Using a tobacco cessation plan and nicotine replacement therapy can double your success rate over trying to quit cold turkey. Online quitting programs and toll-free quitting services have been helpful to thousands of people who are trying to quit and trying to stay quit.

Can I use electronic cigarettes to help me quit smoking?

For important reasons, electronic cigarettes are not a good choice as a cessation aid for the person who is trying to quit smoking:

  • Traditional nicotine replacement therapy helps wean a person off nicotine in a gradual, controlled way. Electronic cigarettes have no medically-endorsed program associated with them. They’re untested and they have no history of being effective as a replacement therapy product.
  • Manufacturers of electronic cigarettes haven’t done the clinical studies and analysis required of other drugs and products containing nicotine. Until they do that, we can’t assume that these products are safe.
  • Part of the cigarette addiction has to do with the ritual of taking the cigarette out of the package, lighting it, putting the end in your mouth and then inhaling. When a person quits smoking, he or she is also quitting this ritual. So, it doesn’t make sense to use a nicotine replacement product that looks just like cigarettes and involves the same physical ritual.

It’s already difficult enough to quit, so choose a nicotine replacement product that isn’t going to trigger emotional feelings about the act of smoking.

I’ve tried to quit 3 or 4 times but I keep smoking. What’s the use?

Multiple quit attempts are very common. In fact, it can take five to seven tries to completely quit. Don’t give up! The health benefits are so valuable and when you do finally quit for the last time, freedom from the nicotine drug will be worth it.

How do I get my loved one to quit?

You can’t force someone to quit, but you can be supportive. Learn how you can help someone quit using tobacco.

What are e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes come in many forms and are known by different names, including “e-cigs,” “e-hookahs,” “mods,” “vape pens,” “vapes,” “tank systems,” and “electronic nicotine delivery systems” (ENDS). These products are battery-operated devices designed to deliver nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals in the form of an aerosol that users inhale.

Are e-cigarettes tobacco products?

E-cigarettes typically contain nicotine derived from tobacco. Generally, e-cigarettes that contain nicotine that comes from tobacco meet the definition of a “tobacco product” under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. A federal appellate court decision (Sottera, Inc. v. Food & Drug Administration, 2010) ruled that FDA must regulate e-cigarettes and other products made or derived from tobacco as tobacco products under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (2009), unless they are marketed for therapeutic purposes (e.g., marketed as products that help smokers quit).

Why is vaping so popular with young people?

Youth and young adults say they use e-cigarettes for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Curiosity. Young people say they are curious about the products and are interested in trying them.
  • Flavors. E-cigarettes are available in hundreds of flavors, and both youth and young adult e-cigarette users overwhelmingly select flavored e-cigarettes over unflavored ones. About 9 out of 10 young adult and 8 out of 10 youth e-cigarette users used flavored e-cigarettes in 2014 and 2015, respectively. In addition, according to the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study, the primary reason that youth ages 12-17 reported they used e-cigarettes was because “they come in flavors I like” (81.5%).
  • Belief that e-cigarettes are safer than other tobacco products, especially conventional cigarettes. More than 3 of 5 American teens believe that e-cigarettes cause little or only some harm as long as they are used sometimes but not every day. Nearly 1 of 5 young adults believe e-cigarettes cause no harm.

E-cigarettes are marketed using themes, product designs, and approaches that have been used to market conventional tobacco products to young people.

How do e-cigarettes harm brain development?

The brain is the last organ in the human body to develop fully. Brain development continues to about the early to mid-20s.  E-cigarettes typically contain nicotine. Nicotine disrupts the development of brain circuits that control attention and learning, and young people who use e-cigarettes and other tobacco products are at risk for deficits in these areas. Adolescence is a critical period for brain development, and brain development continues into young adulthood. Young people who use e-cigarettes and other tobacco products are uniquely at risk for long-term, long-lasting effects of exposing their developing brains to nicotine. In addition to learning and cognitive deficits, and susceptibility to addiction, these risks include mood disorders and permanent lowering of impulse control. The nicotine in e-cigarettes and other tobacco products can also affect the development of the brain’s reward system, priming the adolescent brain for addiction to other drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine.

What is the FDA enforcement policy on unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes that appeal to children?

On January 2, 2020, the FDA issued a policy prioritizing enforcement against certain unauthorized flavored e-cigarette products that appeal to kids, including fruit and mint flavors. Under this policy, companies that do not cease manufacture, distribution and sale of unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes (other than tobacco or menthol) risk FDA enforcement actions. This measure is in response to the rise in youth vaping and the vaping-related lung injury epidemic that has hospitalized over 2,500 people and led to over 50 deaths.  For more information please refer to the official press release from the FDA.

For more information on tobacco permitting and inspections, please visit the Idaho Tobacco Project’s website.

What is the new Tobacco 21 Law and how does this impact retail sales of tobacco products?

A new law is now in place in the United States that prohibits the sale of tobacco products to people under the age of 21.  According to the FDA, it is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product- including cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes- to anyone under 21.  Increasing the purchasing age to 21 will help prevent youths from ever starting to smoke and to reduce deaths, disease, and health costs related to tobacco use. For more information refer to the official press release from the FDA.

For more information on tobacco permitting and inspections, please visit the Idaho Tobacco Project’s website.