Preparing to Quit Tobacco
The most important part of quitting smoking/tobacco is commitment. Research shows that people who are committed are more successful at quitting.
What is commitment? Commitment is a decision that, no matter what happens, you will not pick up another tobacco product. It is a promise you make to yourself and to others. When you make a commitment, you are making a firm decision to stop for good.
P.L.A.N. Your Quit
It is important to plan your quit attempt.
P– Pick a Quit Day.
L– Let friends, family, and coworkers know you plan to quit.
A– Anticipate your triggers and use the "A" strategies to cope.
N– Nicotine addiction medication – talk to your doctor about options.
P – Pick a Quit Day
Choose a day that you will stop using tobacco. This is your "Quit Day!" It is important to set a day and prepare for it. Find a day that is not too stressful. Think about a day that may have some meaning to you.
Here are some ideas:
- A birthday. Your birthday reminds you that you are doing this for your life.
- A child, grandchild or family member's birthday. This reminds you that you are quitting for your family.
- An anniversary. This reminds you that you want to be healthy for your loved ones.
- A vacation. Consider quitting on vacation when you will have little stress.
- A holiday. Perhaps New Years Day, Independence Day (July 4th), or The Great American Smokeout (the third Thursday of each November).
You might also choose a typical day, such as the first of the month. That is good, too. When you are ready to make the change, the actual day is not as important as how well you prepare for it.
L– Let family, friends, and coworkers know you plan to quit
It is important to let others know about your Quit Day. Studies show that support from other people can really improve your chances to quit.
Some people like to have friends and family members ask them how things are going. Other people don't want to talk about their quit attempt. It is important to know what you need and let people know how they can help you.
Here are some ideas:
- Ask other smokers to avoid smoking around you.
- Ask family members to help you clean out tobacco products and cigarette smells from the house and car.
- Ask your loved ones and friends to understand if you have mood changes.
- Ask them not to take it personally.
- Talk with others who are quitting, such as an online support group.
- Quit with a buddy or friend who will support your success.
A – Anticipate your triggers and use "A" strategies to cope.
It is important to know your triggers. What is a trigger? A trigger is anything that gives you an urge to use tobacco. It could be a person smoking or using spit tobacco near you. It could be a feeling like stress, anger, excitement or boredom. It could be a place like an outside bar or patio where you used to smoke. Everyone who tries to stop tobacco is going to face some triggers. It is easier to deal with them if you can anticipate what they will be and have a plan to deal with them.
- Waking in the morning
- Being with other smokers
- Seeing someone smoke
- Drinking coffee, tea
- Talking on the phone
- Working on the computer
- Driving in the car
- Watching TV
- After completing a task
- Being a passenger in a car
- Feeling irritable, impatient or angry
- Smelling a cigarette
- Feeling down, depressed or blue
- Feeling bored
- After eating
- After sex
- When relaxing or as a reward
What are your triggers? Read some real strategies from ex-smokers to give you ideas for coping.
N – Nicotine Medication: talk to your doctor about nicotine medications
Talk to your doctor or health care provider about nicotine medications. Everyone who is trying to quit may benefit from using a medication. In fact, research shows that using nicotine medications can double or triple your chances of quitting for good.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the following medicines to help you quit tobacco:
Fiore, M.C., Jaen, C.R., Baker, T.B., et al., Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. May, 2008.
Abrama, D.B., Niaura, R., Brown, R. A., Emmons, K.M., Goldstein, M.G., & Monti, P.M. (2003) The Tobacco Dependence Treatment Handbook: A Guide to Best Practices. Guilford Press. New York, NY.
This information has been approved by Amy Lukowski, PsyD (November 2011).