Ready, Steady…..

OK, here we are coming to the end of another year. If you are still smoking have you ever said to yourself things like, “I’ll quit when I go to college”, or “I’ll quit when I graduate from college”, or “I’ll quit when I start my new job” or “I’ll quit by the time I’m 30” or “I’ll quit for New Year 2000” etc etc? Well, now its time to stop putting it off. Cigarettes are more expensive than ever before. If you try to buy them tax-free on the internet you risk getting a large bill from your state finance department, you now can’t smoke in most public places, and the evidence about the bad health effects is stronger and clearer than ever before. We also now have more methods if stopping smoking that have been shown to increase your chances of success.

So here we are approaching the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008. Wouldn’t it be great to reach this time next year having gone the whole year without smoking? So now is the time to really get yourself ready to quit. One of the first things to do is to choose a Quit Date. Many people at this time of year will choose January 1, and that is as good a time as any. Some may choose to put it off a little for good reasons. One reason might be “I’m going to be drinking and smoking on New Year’s eve and I want to start my quit day with a clear head and without having smoked at all after midnight the night before.” In that case why not pick January 2 as your quit day?

Another reason to delay a little bit might be because you intend to use Chantix or Zyban and havn’t got your prescription yet, and so won’t have time to get it and take it for 7 days (as advised on the labeling) prior to the quit day by January 1. In that case see your doctor and get started on your medicine as soon as possible.

But regardless of which individual day you choose to quit on, don’t delay it for too long. I’d suggest that any date that is more than two weeks into the year is delaying too long unless you have an exceptionally good reason. And once you have chosen your date, its immediately time to start getting ready.

You may want to review my post on the health effects of smoking to remind yourself of some of the main reasons for quitting:
How bad is smoking for your health? 2/18/07

You may want to plan how you might cope with nicotine withdrawal symptoms, as suggested in this post:
Ten tips for coping with nicotine withdrawal. 3/7/07

You will certainly want to make a plan to get rid of all your tobacco:
Get rid of all your tobacco. 6/16/07

…and you should consider whether you are going to use a pharmacological aid to smoking cessation, like nicotine replacement therapy:
Which nicotine replacement therapy? 6/19/07

Its also a good idea to be thinking about what has tripped you up on any prior quit attempts, and what you can do differently this time in order to succeed. In particular, its worth anticipating specific things coming up in your life in the next week or two that may be a risk for relapse. Make a plan of how you will manage these situations without smoking.

I’d be interested to hear from anyone out there who is currently planning to quit smoking at New Year. Use the “comment” option on the blog to tell us how you are planning to quit, and let us know of your progress.
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About the Author

MA, MAppSci, PhD

Dr. Jonathan Foulds is an expert in the field of tobacco addiction.