Stage Three: Preparing to Be Tobacco-Free

Countdown to Quitting Smoking
Quitting Makes a Difference in How You Feel
There's good news about stopping, it's never too late. Quitting tobacco has major, immediate health benefits for people of any age. The most important is ridding your body of a harmful addiction. You'll also notice these physical changes:
  • Improvements in your senses of smell and taste
  • Gradual disappearance of smoker's cough
  • More energy.

Quitting tobacco isn't easy. Health experts suggest you:

  • Talk to your doctor
  • Make a plan
  • Set a quit date and gradually phase out tobacco
  • Get support from family and friends
  • Eat healthy and exercise frequently
  • Cut back on alcohol and caffeine
  • Reward yourself for reaching goals.

In organizing your strategy for quitting, talk with your doctor and explore tobacco cessation programs in your community. Also review the self-help materials available from the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, and your local library.

Countdown to Quitting Smoking
What you do in the weeks and days preceding your official quit date is critical to your success. Use some of these strategies to increase the likelihood of sticking to your plan:

  • Change your routine
  • Begin exercising or start a new activity
  • Make healthy food choices
  • Reduce or avoid alcohol
  • Identify strategies for lowering your stress
  • Build a survival kit (sugarless gum/candy, supporters' phone numbers, healthy snacks, relaxing music, etc.)
  • Make tobacco use inconvenient
  • Clean your ashtray after each use
  • Keep track of tobacco use
  • Decrease the number of cigarettes you smoke each day as you move closer to your quit date
  • Wait 5 minutes before lighting up
  • Switch to a brand you find distasteful
  • Read about quitting
  • Talk with friends and family members who have successfully quit
  • Sit in the nonsmoking section of restaurants
  • Avoid situations you link with tobacco use
  • Discuss quitting aids such as nicotine replacement with your doctor
  • Postpone lighting your first cigarette of the day by 1 hour.