Smoking cessation: Create a quit-smoking plan

Create a plan to cope with hurdles you may face as you quit smoking.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you're like many smokers and other tobacco users, you know you should quit — you just aren't sure how to do it. Or you may have tried quitting in the past, but you started smoking again.

Creating a quit-smoking plan may improve your chances of stopping for good. Having a plan helps you set expectations, line up the support you need, prepare for cravings, identify and practice coping skills, and stay motivated.

The following ideas can help you create a plan.

List your reasons for quitting

Only you can decide when you're ready to quit smoking. Therefore, you need to be clear on why you are making the decision and what will motivate you to quit.

Make a list of your reasons for quitting — the foundation will support your quit-smoking plan. Reasons for quitting might include:

  • Improving your health
  • Lowering your risk of disease in the future
  • Not exposing family or friends to secondhand smoke
  • Saving money

Pick a quit day

Pick a specific day within the next month to quit smoking. If your quit day is too far in the future, you may find it hard to follow through, but you need to give yourself time to prepare. You might pick a random date, a day that would likely be less stressful, or a day that holds special meaning for you, such as a birthday or holiday. Mark the date on your calendar.

Although many smokers believe they would prefer to reduce smoking gradually, recent evidence indicates that abrupt quitting — setting a quit date and sticking to it — results in successful long-term quitting.

April 19, 2017 See more In-depth