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Quit Day: 5 Steps

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Congratulations on the decision to quit. Your first day without cigarettes can be difficult, but having a plan will make it easier! Don't rely on willpower alone to keep you smokefree. Prepare so that you can feel confident in your ability to stay quit today.

Step One

Tell your friends and family that today is your quit day. Ask them for support during these first few days and weeks. They can help you get through the rough spots, but make sure to tell them how they can support you. Be specific; they aren't mind readers.

Step Two

Get the support you need—either by developing your own quit plan or finding a quit program that works for you. A quit plan combines strategies that help you stay focused, confident, and motivated to quit. You might decide to use a quit program like SmokefreeTXT, or a quitline like 1–800–QUIT–NOW (1–800–784–8669), to get started. If you're not sure exactly which quit methods are right for you, visit the Quit Smoking Methods Explorer to learn more. If nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is part of your plan, make sure to start using it first thing in the morning. Remember, there's no right way to quit—be honest about what you need. Just don't celebrate with a cigarette.

Step Three

Stay busy. It might seem simple, but staying busy is one of the best ways to stay smokefree on your quit day. Try one of these activities:

  • Get out of the house
  • Go to dinner at your favorite smokefree restaurant
  • Go to a movie
  • Chew gum or hard candy
  • Keep your hands busy with a pen or toothpick
  • Relax with deep breathing
  • Plan a game night with non-smoking friends
  • Change your regular routine
  • Drink a lot of water
  • Exercise

Step Four

Avoid smoking triggers. Triggers are the people, places, things, and situations that trigger your urge to smoke. On your quit day, it's best to avoid them all together. Here are a few tips to help you outsmart some common smoking triggers:

  • Throw away your cigarettes, lighters, and ash trays if you haven't already
  • Avoid caffeine, which can make you feel jittery; try drinking water instead
  • Hang out with non-smokers; most people don't smoke, so you should have options
  • Go to a place where smoking isn't allowed; unless you want to break the law, you won't light up
  • Get plenty of rest and eat healthy; lack of sleep and too much sugar can trigger you to smoke

Step Five

Stay positive, but vigilant. Quitting smoking happens one minute, one hour, and one day at a time. Don't think of quitting as "forever". Pay attention to right now, and the days will add up! Quitting smoking is difficult, but it doesn't hurt to say positive; don't beat yourself up. Day one isn't going to be perfect, but all that matters is you don't smoke—not even one puff. Reward yourself for being smokefree for 24 hours. You deserve it!

If you're not feeling prepared to quit today, set a quit date that makes sense for you. It's okay if you need a few more days to prepare to quit smoking.

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