Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention and Educational Services


The vast majority of smokers want to quit.

Student Wellness Services can help you kick the nicotine habit. 

  1. Click on the following headings for helpful information.
  1. Visit the Wellness Resource Lab, WRC 104, where additional pamphlets and materials are available.
  2. Contact Shawna Haislet, (319) 273-6119, for a personal consultation to help you develop a plan with strategies for quitting.
  3. UNI Employees who qualify for UNI health insurance can obtain free nicotine gun patched with participation in the smoking cessation classes offered through Employee Well-being.
Quitline Iowa

The Quitline offers 2-weeks of free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (patches or gum) to everyone who calls (except Medicaid clients, who have better benefits).

1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)

Quit Smoking Tip Sheet
The following are different tips that smokers have used in retraining themselves to live without cigarettes. Any of these methods in combination might be helpful to you. Use the ones you like and/or develop your own program.



  • Throw out All cigarettes, ashtrays, matches and lighter.

  • When the urge to smoke hits, take a deep breath and hold it for ten seconds; then release it slowly.

  • Exercise to help relieve tension.

  • When tempted to reach for a cigarette, select your worst memory connected with the habit (i.e. burned a hole in a suit/dress) and imagine this for 15 seconds.

  • Reward yourself with oral substitutes (i.e. sugarless gum, lemon drops, carrots, cinnamon sticks).

  • Eat three meals. Avoid sugar-laden, and spicy foods which can trigger your desire for a cigarette.

  • Change daily habits which remind you of smoking (e.g.: take a different route to work, eat lunch in a new place, avoid your "smoking chair" at home).

  • Cleanse your body of nicotine by drinking lots of liquids. Avoid coffee, caffeinated soft drinks and alcohol as they increase the urge to smoke.

  • Keep your hands and mind busy (i.e. knit, play cards, crossword puzzles).

  • Spend the day with friends who don't smoke.

  • Get rid of smokers' breath by brushing teeth several times.

  • Go public with your plans to quit. Ask friends, family, and co-workers to help you quit and not to smoke around you.

  • Congratulate yourself on quitting smoking it's hard work!

  • Indulge in a bath, massage, nap, listen to music; realize you don't have to smoke to have a good time.

  • Avoid foods that are high in calories; try carrots, gum, apples.

  • Try smoking an excess cigarettes for a day before you quit, so the taste of cigarettes is spoiled.

  • Make a list of what you like and dislike about smoking. Add to it and read it daily.

  • Wait 3 minutes after a cigarette craving before smoking. During the 3 minutes, change your activity by telephoning an ex-smoker, or spouse.

  • Plan a memorable date for stopping, but not too distant.

  • If you smoke under stress at work, pick a date when you are not at work.

  • Decide if you are going to stop suddenly or gradually. If gradually, develop a tapering system, so you have intermediate goals.

  • Don't store cigarettes. Buy one pack at a time. Keep them as far away from you as possible.

  • Purchase cigarettes which are lower in nicotine and tar.

  • Say "I don't want to smoke" instead of "I quit smoking" so you maintain your resolution if you accidentally have a cigarette.

  • Try to help someone else quit smoking, especially your spouse.

  • Always ask yourself, "Do I need this cigarette, or is it a reflex?"

  • Each day, delay lighting your first cigarette.

  • Decide to smoke only on even or odd numbered hours.

  • Go to bed and arise early, to avoid rushing to work.

  • Only smoke half a cigarette.

  • After you quit, exercise your lungs (i.e. brisk walk, aerobics).

  • If you gain weight because you are not smoking, wait until you are over the craving before you diet. Dieting is easier then.

  • If you are depressed or have physical symptoms which might be related to smoking, discuss these with your physician.

  • Visit your dentist after you quit have your teeth cleaned to get rid of tobacco stains.

  • If you are a "kitchen smoker" in the morning, volunteer your services to schools or non profit organizations to get out of the house.

Changes Your Body Goes Through When You Quit
  • Within 20 minutes of last cigarette:

    • blood pressure drops to normal
    • pulse rate drops to normal rate
    • body temperature of hands and feet increases to normal
  • After eight hours:

    • carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal
    • oxygen level in blood increases to normal
  • After 24 hours:

    • chances of heart attack decrease
  • After 48 hours:

    • nerve endings in the mouth and nose start to regrow
    • ability to taste and smell improves
  • After 72 hours:

    • bronchial tubes relax, making breathing easier
    • lung capacity increases
  • Two weeks to three months:

    • circulation improves
    • walking becomes easier
    • lung function increase up to 30%
  • One to nine months:

    • coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decrease
    • cilia regrow in lungs, increasing ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs and reduce infection
    • body's overall energy level increases
  • Five years:

    • lung cancer death rate for average smoker decrease from 137 per 100,000 people to 72 per 100,000 people
  • Ten years:

    • pre-cancerous cells are replaced with normal cells
    • risks of other cancers, such as those of the mouth, voice box, esophagus, kidney and pancreas decrease

All these benefits are lost when you smoke just one cigarette a day!!!


When someone quits smoking, the body may have a difficult time adjusting to the absence of thousands of chemicals found in cigarette smoke. Each individual reacts to those recovery or "withdrawal" symptoms in a different way. Some ex-smokers can smoke their last cigarette and never miss smoking or experience any discomfort. However, other smokers may experience a wide variety of unpleasant physical and mental symptoms. There is really no way to predict the degree of withdrawal symptoms to expect, since it does not seem to be dependent on the amount of cigarettes smoked, years of smoking or any other personal characteristic. The recovery symptoms listed below are the most commonly reported reasons for their occurrence and possible ways to reduce them.


Perhaps the most commonly reported withdrawal symptom is irritability, being short tempered or grouchiness. Internal and external stress caused by quitting smoking is bound to upset the temperament of almost any smoker. Smokers should try to forewarn family and friends of this difficult time and ask for support and understanding for this temporary period. If possible, try to avoid stressful events, situations or other problems that might only make matters worse.

Lack of Concentration

Quitting smoking often occupies the mind of the new ex-smoker to such an extent that he or she is unable to concentrate on daily activities. Again, this is only a temporary condition and the ex-smoker should try to avoid complicated tasks or time consuming projects for the first few days after quitting.


Whether it is conscious or unconscious, smokers often view giving up cigarettes as a loss in their life and often may feel depressed or go through a period of mourning. To counteract this depression, the new ex-smoker should focus on the benefits of not smoking. Quitting smoking is actually gaining back your health and energy, rather than giving up something important.


Many ex-smokers will initially experience and increase in coughing. Although this may seem to be a negative sign, it is actually a positive sign that the lungs are beginning to rid themselves of accumulated mucus and tar. Cough drops may be helpful in easing this symptom.


One of the many benefits of quitting smoking is a healthier, more energetic body. Activity can be comfortably increased and there is a decreased need for sleep. If sleeplessness is a problem, try taking deep breaths and doing muscle relaxation exercises before going to bed.


When cigarette use is eliminated, intestinal movements may decrease because of the absence of nicotine, which acts as a stimulant on the body. Drinking lots of water and eating a high fiber diet can help to overcome this problem.


The absence of carbon monoxide and resulting increase in the oxygen carrying ability of the lungs means that the body is taking in more oxygen than usual. When occasional dizziness is a problem, sit down and relax for a minute or two until it passes.


Food often tastes better to the new ex-smoker because the taste buds are no longer numbed by tobacco smoke. Ex-smokers often substitute food for cigarettes and the result is a significant increase in foods or frequent tooth brushing to satisfy the need to have something in your mouth.

Mouth Soreness

Chemical adjustments in the mouth may cause a small percentage of ex-smokers to suffer from minor mouth irritations. These sores or blisters should heal quickly, but the ex-smoker can see their physician or dentist if the problem persists.

Bad Taste in the Mouth

Ex-smoker's improved sense of taste may detect a bad taste in the mouth that is a result of smoking. Mouthwash, salt water rinses or extra vitamin C may help to remedy the situation.


Resisting the urges to smoke can be tiring and emotionally draining for some smokers. If lack of energy or lethargy is a problem, take short naps when possible and avoid strenuous work if possible.

These withdrawal symptoms are only a selection of the more common ones reported by ex-smokers. If you are experiencing other unusual or unexplainable symptoms, do not be alarmed. This is just your body's way of making the adjustment form smoker to non-smoker. Most withdrawal symptoms are most severe during the first three or four days after quitting and will decrease in severity over the next few weeks. Again, some smokers have no withdrawal symptoms and others have symptoms which may last for over a month. If these withdrawal symptoms still persist after more than one or two months, it may be wise to see your physician. In rare cases, cigarette smoking may have masked actual physical ailments or conditions.

People using nicotine gum or nicotine skin patches may not experience strong physical withdrawal symptoms. While receiving treatment, they may focus on the psychological cues and triggers to smoke. At the end of treatment, they prepare to be nicotine free.

Confidence Test
  1. Positive that you would not be able to resist the urge.
  2. Quite sure you would not be able to resist the urge.
  3. You might not be able to resist the urge to smoke
  4. You're not sure whether you would resist.
  5. You might be able to resist the urge to smoke.
  6. You most likely would be able to resist the urge.
  7. You positively would resist the urge to smoke.

Below is a list of several situations in which people often smoke. Read each statement carefully. Then, using the scale above, rate your confidence in your ability to resist the urge to smoke if the situation would arise in the future.

  1. When you feel impatient.
  2. When you are waiting for someone or something.
  3. When you feel frustrated.
  4. When you are worried.
  5. When you want something in your mouth.
  6. When you want to cheer up.
  7. When you want to keep yourself busy.
  8. When you are trying to pass time.
  9. When someone offers you a cigarette.
  10. When you are drinking an alcoholic beverage.
  11. When you are drinking coffee or tea.
  12. When you feel uncomfortable.
  13. When you are embarrassed.
  14. When you are in a situation in which you feel smoking is a part of your self image.
  15. When you want to reward yourself for completing a task.
  16. When you want to relax.
  17. When you find a pack of your previous brand of cigarettes.
  18. When you are out with friends who smoke.
  19. When you realize you have gained weight.
  20. Using the same scale as above, how confident are you that you will not be smoking a year from now?