Smoking cessation: Creating a quit-smoking plan

Create a quit-smoking plan to help you quit smoking for good. A quit-smoking plan gives you the tools 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. Creating a quit-smoking plan may improve your chances of stopping for good. Having a quit-smoking plan helps you cope with the physical and emotional issues that often arise when you stop smoking, such as nicotine withdrawal and strong urges to smoke.

Action guide to dealing with triggers (PDF file requiring Adobe Reader)

Deciding to quit smoking

Sure, you may be able to list plenty of reasons to stop smoking. You may be worried about the health problems related to smoking, the social stigma, the expense or the pressure from loved ones. But only you can decide when you're ready to stop smoking. You may spend a lot of time thinking about quitting smoking before you're ready to actually do it. If you're thinking about quitting, go ahead and pick a specific day to quit — your quit day — and then plan for it.

Picking a quit day

Pick a specific day within the next month to quit smoking. Don't set your quit day too far in the future, or you may find it hard to follow through. But don't do it before you have a quit-smoking plan in place, either. Having a day in mind can help you prepare for what to expect and to line up helpful support. Pick a random day as your quit day or pick a day that holds special meaning for you, such as a birthday, a holiday or a day of the week that's generally less stressful for you.

What if you decide to quit smoking on the spur of the moment? Follow the quit day advice and go for it.

Apr. 19, 2011 See more In-depth