University Health Service (UHS)
Health Promotion Office
Setting the Date and
Deciding on a Plan
Once a person has decided to quit smoking, it's time to pick the all-important "Quit Date." Make sure that it is pretty soon, preferably within the next month. Choosing a date too far in the future will make it easier to rationalize a way out of it. However, there also needs to be enough time to become prepared. Once prepared, it is then time to come up with a solid plan. Here are some steps to help smokers get prepared for their "Quit Date":
- Pick the date. Mark it clearly on the calendar.
- Tell friends and family of the "Quit Date" and ask for their support.
- Get rid of all cigarettes, lighters, ashtrays, etc. and stock up on sugarless gum, cinnamon sticks, carrot sticks, and hard candy.
- Decide on a plan. What options does your health service offer for cessation? Are there community resources or online support services that best match your personal needs? If you need to sign up for any of these, do so NOW.
- Consider nicotine replacement therapy (i.e. the patch, gum) or other medications. Medications have been proven to increase the success of quitting. Investigate your options and think about what will work best for you. If you are interested in using a medication, talk with your primary care provider. You may need to start using it before your "Quit Date." For more information about Nicotine Replacement Therapy, click here or refer to the page on this website titled: "Nicotine Replacement Therapy."
- Call a quit line or check out a web site designed to help you stay smoke-free, or contact your primary care provider for support and encouragement. (Click here to check out the Additional Resources.)
- Practice saying, "No, thank you. I don't smoke."
- Enlist the help of your support system. Tell others of your plan and ask for their support. Ask a friend to quit smoking with you. You can also join Nicotine Anonymous or talk with a friend who has successfully quit and is willing to help.
- Identify your triggers, those things that tempt you to light up a cigarette. Think about the times or rituals during the day when you normally smoke, such as with a cup of coffee in the morning, between classes, while studying, or at a bar. Figure out what you will do instead of smoking, such as skipping the coffee, going for a walk, chomping on carrot sticks or lollipops, or even avoiding large social gatherings such as those at a bar. These temptations will become less and less strong the longer you are smoke-free.
- Speak with your primary care provider if you are concerned about weight gain, depression, or other common side effects of nicotine withdrawal. Remember that exercise can decrease your chances of gaining weight while you quit smoking and can make quitting much easier, so start a workout routine before your "Quit Date" so that you can continue it throughout the quitting process.