How to create a plan to quit smoking

January 23, 2023

The decision to quit smoking is important for good health. Many of us know smoking can cause health problems like cancer, heart disease, stroke, and lung diseases. And, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), people who smoke cigarettes are 30%–40% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than people who don’t.

With these factors in mind, it’s easy to understand why it’s important to quit smoking. But it can also be hard! Try following these steps to create a plan to quit for good.

Find inspiration and motivation to quit smoking

Before making a change to your lifestyle, it’s important to feel inspired. You’ll need a compelling motivation to remember whenever you face challenges.

According to, a few possible reasons to quit smoking include:

  • You’re concerned about your health.
  • You want to improve relationships with family and friends.
  • Your doctor has suggested quitting.
  • You’re trying to save money.
  • You want to set a good example for others.
  • Quitting can help you regain a sense of control.

Find an idea that resonates with you by journaling or reading a list of reasons to quit smoking to remind yourself of your motivation as you go through the process.

Pick a date to quit smoking

Rather than quitting cold turkey, try setting a date two weeks in the future to allow time to prepare. The CDC also suggests avoiding workdays or other days when you may be stressed or tempted to smoke. Write your quit date somewhere you’ll see it every day so that you’re reminded of your decision.

Rally your support system

As the CDC says, quitting will be easier with the support of your family and friends. Let the important people in your life know when and why you’ll be quitting. It may also be helpful to take advantage of support from experts like those at the Kick the Nic program provided by our partners at Montage Health or a Freedom from Smoking class at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital.

Identify smoking triggers

Certain feelings and activities “trigger” the urge to smoke. Write a list of everything that makes you feel like smoking and note how you can deal with or avoid each trigger. suggests some ideas to deal with your cravings like:

  • Taking 10 deep breaths
  • Getting exercise
  • Eating something crunchy
  • Going to a favorite place where smoking isn’t allowed

Reward yourself for a job well done

It’s important to celebrate the wins in your journey to quit smoking! Celebrate your first smoke-free day, week, month, and year with a fun activity like going to the movies or out to a nice dinner. Plan how you’ll celebrate your milestones ahead of time, so you have something to look forward to as you reach your goal.

The decision to stop smoking isn’t an easy one, but we hope these ideas help you feel confident that you can be successful.

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