Smoking cessation

Lifestyle changes to lower heart disease risk

Unhealthy lifestyle choices may be responsible for half of all premature deaths, but choosing healthier behaviors, such as working to lower cholesterol and blood pressure and getting more exercise, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Vaping: It’s hard to quit, but help is available

As companies developed e-cigarette products, little or no consideration was given to their safety, and research on how to help people who want to quit has lagged. But if you are motivated to quit vaping, there are options and you should talk to a doctor.

Can vaping damage your lungs? What we do (and don’t) know

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Reports of severe lung illness experienced by hundreds of people who were using e-cigarettes again raise questions about the safety of vaping. While evidence suggests vaping can help some people stop smoking, potential health risks likely outweigh any benefit.

Can vaping help you quit smoking?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

While the long-term health consequences of using e-cigarettes are still unknown, a study comparing vaping with nicotine replacement therapy found that it may be useful as a tool to help some smokers quit.

Lowering nicotine in cigarettes

Mallika Marshall, MD

Contributing Editor

With the intent of making cigarettes less addictive, the FDA has proposed lowering nicotine levels, which could also make it easier for smokers to quit.

Expert advice on how to quit smoking

Monique Tello, MD, MPH

Contributing Editor

People who are serious about quitting smoking want to know the most effective methods for doing so. For most people this is likely to be a combination of behavior strategies and medications, including nicotine replacement products that can be taken with other smoking cessation drugs.

Teens who use flavored e-cigarettes more likely to start smoking

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

E-cigarette smoking among teens is on the rise, and teens are more likely to transition from smoking e-cigarettes to smoking traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes are marketed towards young people, emphasizing the need for dialogue between teens and the adults in their lives on the health risks surrounding this trend.

E-cigarettes: Good news, bad news

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

While e-cigarettes do not produce the tar or toxic gases found in cigarette smoke, this doesn’t make them a healthy option. The e-liquid found in e-cigarettes still contains highly addictive nicotine that also increases your risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Nicotine also increases the risk of addiction to other drugs and may impair brain development. Rather than rely on the perceived benefits of e-cigarettes, people should avoid smoking altogether.

Quitting smoking during the second half of the menstrual cycle may help women kick the habit

Hope Ricciotti, MD

Editor in Chief, Harvard Women's Health Watch

Studies have shown that not only do women have a harder time quitting than men, but they also experience more severe health consequences from smoking. However, new research suggests that it may be easier for women to quit smoking during the second half of their menstrual cycle. During this time, the hormone progesterone is higher, and this appears to aid in quitting and avoiding relapse.

What’s the best way to quit smoking?

Wynne Armand, MD

Contributing Editor

Quitting smoking can add years to your life. The earlier the better, but the benefits of quitting are real and significant, even if you’re 80. There are several ways to quit and it often takes multiple attempts to become and ex-smoker for good. Research suggests that for some people, quitting “cold turkey” may be the most effective approach.