When is the right time to quit smoking?
Just like having a baby or changing careers, there’s no perfect time to quit smoking. If possible, try to choose a time when you're feeling committed and can focus on preparing for your quit smoking journey – and sticking to your goals.
Here are some strategies to help you both prepare for quitting and to set the date.
Before you quit
The weeks leading up to your quit date are your time to start preparing physically, mentally and socially for your new smoke-free life. Use this time to fully commit to your quit date and schedule in time for these vital steps:
- Book an appointment with your doctor
- Write down your reasons for quitting
- Tell your family and friends about your decision to quit
You're up to 4x more likely to succeed in quitting with the help of your healthcare professional compared to quitting unaided.1 The best time to chat to your doctor about quitting is while you are in the planning stages – that way, you'll be setting yourself up for the best chance of success.
The reasons why you want to quit will serve as powerful motivators and reminders when the going gets tough. The HelpToQuit article How to quit smoking will help you put this list together.
Along with your doctor, your family and friends will form your quit smoking support squad who can help keep you on track with your decision to quit and in your new smoke-free life.
Setting your quit date
Now that you've prepared the scene for quitting, it's time to pick your date. Here are our top tips to help you choose that day:
- Avoid times of high stress
- Consider other special dates in your calendar
- Reflect on any previous quit attempts
- Fit quitting into your routine
While it's impossible for most people to choose a stress-free time in their lives (do those even exist?), there are certain high-stress times you're better off avoiding. It's best to avoid times when you know you will be under the pump at work, during exam time for students, or back to school time for young families.
You know the main sources of stress in your life, so take these into account when choosing your date. Some people find it useful to schedule their quit date when they have a few days off, while others prefer to quit on a week day when the routine of work or study creates a useful distraction.
Avoid timing your quit date with a special occasion such as a birthday or anniversary. You might like to set the date for a month before any special celebrations – that way, you can celebrate being smoke-free as well.
Look back on any previous times you tried to quit smoking. Think about what worked well and what you need to improve on. What will you do differently this time?
Life does go on after you quit and you'll need to make being smoke-free your new normal, just as smoking used to be. Identify the times and places when you usually smoke and crave a cigarette. Then work out what you can do instead of lighting up. You'll find plenty of useful tips and tricks in How to make NOT smoking a habit.
Now that you're prepared for success, don't put off choosing your quit day any longer. Before long, you'll realise it was one of most important days of your life.