print header

Plan for a successful quit

Preparing to quit

  1. Write down reasons you want to quit smoking. Post the list in many places in your home and on your computer monitor.
  2. Think about situations that trigger your urge to smoke and plan ways to avoid them. You many need to stay away from places where you usually smoke as an example.
  3. Plan ahead for when the inevitable urge for a cigarette strikes. For example have healthy snacks on hand or plan to go for a brisk walk or do stretching exercises to ride out the craving.
  4. Get rid of all the lighters and ashtrays from your usual smoking areas and make these areas as uncomfortable as possible. Move all the magazines away from your favourite smoking chair and perhaps even move the chair away from the television!

Don't quit quitting

When you decide to make a quit attempt, you are not alone. The majority of people who smoke say they would like to quit. But it's important to have realistic expectations. It may take you multiple tries before you can quit for good.

If you fail, that's okay! Failing is good - it means you are trying. Keep your chin up if you slip - every attempt brings you one step closer to quitting for good. It usually takes more than one try to quit smoking. You can find help and support at

There's a good chance if you smoke regularly that you will go through withdrawal symptoms when you stop and you will have to fight powerful urges.

Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist about nicotine replacement products that can reduce your cravings. You can also get great support from family and friends when you ask them to help you stay on track.

Many setbacks happen within the first three months of quitting and are caused by triggers such as a particularly stressful event. It's hard to prepare yourself for these situations but you can get through them smoke free.

Remind yourself why you decided to quit smoking, practice relaxation techniques and ask for support from family and friends.

  • Change your habits. Have your morning cup of coffee at the office instead of at home, take a walk after dinner. Physical activity will help curb your cravings.
  • Do things that require using your hands - crossword puzzles, needlework or gardening.
  • Avoid smoking temptations. Until you are confident of your ability to resist temptation, limit yourself to social situations where smoking isn’t allowed.
  • When you do have a nicotine craving, practice some relaxation activities, or at home take a shower or a bath - anything that makes it impossible for you to light a cigarette.
  • Brush your teeth and floss. The fresh clean feeling and taste will help to remind you of the benefits of being smoke free.
  • When all else fails, have low sugar, low fat oral substitutes handy. Try carrot and celery sticks, sugarless gum and candies, and toothpicks instead of cigarettes.

Week 1 Tips

  • Take each day hour by hour. Think of each smoke-free hour as an accomplishment, otherwise looking too far ahead and dwelling on never smoking again may seem impossible. Break your thoughts down into small increments so you have numerous successes as the hours go by.
  • Trick your subconscious by substituting a cigarette with another item to keep your hands and mouth busy. Try sucking on the end of a pen, straw or toothpick.


Week 2 Tips

  • Continue to find cigarette substitutes to try out when cravings strike. Try bottled water, sugarless gum or celery sticks.


Week 3 Tips

  • When you see someone else smoking, congratulate yourself for not doing the same.
  • Imagine not being able to do the things you like to do such as travel or sports, or running and playing with your children. If you have children, remember you are a strong role model and picture them imitating your behaviour.


Week 4 Tips

  • To keep going, see yourself as a non-smoker. Imagine yourself feeling free of the addiction of cigarettes and happily in control knowing you don't need to or want to smoke any more.

External links

Did you find what you were looking for today?
What did you like about this page?
How can we improve this page?

If you have any questions or concerns that require a response, please contact Health Connection directly.

Thanks for your feedback.
Failed to submit comment. Please try submitting again or contact us at the Health Unit.
Comment already submitted ...