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.

Why does Project Filter do sponsorships?

The tobacco industry heavily promotes at events like race car events, baseball games and rodeos. By repeatedly showing the face of tobacco at places where people go to have fun, the tobacco industry believes positive feelings will eventually be associated with tobacco use.

Project Filter wants to change the belief that tobacco use is normal, cool or acceptable behavior at sporting events. To do this, Project Filter must get its own pro-health messages in front of race car, motocross, baseball and rodeo fans. This requires a visible presence at events, which sponsorships provide.

Project Filter is fortunate to have found a team of role models that are both inspirational and talented in their respective sports. The Project Filter team reaches fans all over Idaho – the same fans so heavily marketed to by the tobacco industry. Each member of Project Filter’s team brings a unique message about the importance of quitting or remaining smoke free.

Why does Project Filter sponsor local racing stars?

Project Filter’s presence at race car events and its sponsorship of local racing stars is an effective way to counter the marketing of commercial tobacco among people who have some of the highest rates of tobacco use.

For decades, the tobacco industry and car racing were a close-knit partnership. Tobacco sponsorship of U.S. race car events came to an end on June 22, 2010 with passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

The tobacco industry’s goal has been, and still is, to build relationships with athletes and fans so that bans on tobacco advertising wouldn’t interfere with tobacco sales. Since addiction is a very difficult thing to fight, the tobacco industry knows their race car fans would continue to buy their products long after their in-your-face style of advertising at events went away. That’s why Project Filter counters the marketing of tobacco messages to the same fans. These great role models share their tobacco-free messages, reaching people in ways that brochures can’t.

Why does Project Filter sponsor local rodeo stars?

Project Filter’s presence at rodeos and its sponsorship of rodeo stars is an effective way to counter the marketing of smokeless (chew, dip, snuff) tobacco among people who have some of the highest rates of tobacco use.

Idaho surveys have found that smokeless tobacco use has increased by 65 percent among high school students since 2003. Spending on advertising and promotion by the 5 major smokeless tobacco companies reached a record high of $251 million in 2005, including $15.8 million specifically on sports and sporting events.* Although the tobacco industry no longer sponsors rodeo events, we know that this longtime relationship already did its damage—thousands of people are now addicted to tobacco. That’s one of the reasons why Project Filter has to find unique and personal ways to bring our health messages to the people who will benefit the most from them.

Why does Project Filter sponsor local motocross stars?

Project Filter began its sponsorship of motocross in 2009. The majority of people who watch these events on TV and in person are males who, in Idaho, are in the category of having the highest smoking rates.

Although the tobacco industry’s sponsorship of sporting events came to an end on June 22, 2010, with passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, we know that decades of tobacco’s partnership with these events had already established a huge customer base. After all, tobacco addiction is the very thing the tobacco industry can count on to keep customers. Project Filter believes the best way to reach those customers is to use the influence of admired local sports figures to help us spread our message.

* Federal Trade Commission Smokeless Tobacco Report for the Years 2002–2005. Washington DC: Federal Trade Commission; 2007.