Steps to Manage Quit Day

You’ve decided to quit smoking. Congratulations! Your first day without cigarettes can be difficult. Here are five steps you can take to handle your quit day and gain confidence about staying quit.

1. Stick to Your Plan

Revisiting your quit plan can make your quit day easier—it will help you stay focused, confident, and motivated to quit and stay quit. If you haven’t made a quit plan yet, it’s not too late. Build a personalized quit plan now.

Remember: There is no single quit smoking plan that will work for everyone. Be honest about your needs. If using nicotine replacement therapy is right for you and part of your plan, be sure to start using it first thing in the morning.

2. Get Support

You don’t need to rely on willpower alone to be smokefree. There are things you can do that will help you get through your quit day.

  • Lean on positive people. Tell your family and friends about your quit day. Ask them for support, especially on your first few days and weeks of being smokefree. They can help you get through the rough spots.
  • Try a text message program. Sign up for SmokefreeTXT online or text QUIT to 47848.
  • Download a smartphone app. Our free apps help you track cravings and understand your smoking patterns.
  • Visit Smokefree on social media. Grow your support network and stay connected.
  • Talk to an expert at a quitline. Call the National Cancer Institute Quitline at 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848) from Friday 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. or find your state’s quitline by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
  • Chat with a quit smoking counselor. LiveHelp is Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern time. LiveHelp is also available in Spanish.

3. Stay Busy

Keeping busy is a great way to stay smokefree on your quit day. Being busy will help you keep your mind off smoking and distract you from cravings. Think about trying some of these activities:

  • Exercise.
  • Get out of the house for a walk.
  • Chew gum or hard candy.
  • Keep your hands busy with a pen or toothpick, or play a game in the QuitGuide app.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Relax with deep breathing.
  • Go to a movie.
  • Spend time with non-smoking friends and family.
  • Go to dinner at your favorite smokefree restaurant.

4. Avoid Smoking Triggers

Triggers are the people, places, things, and situations that set off your urge to smoke. On your quit day, try to avoid your smoking triggers. Here are some tips to help you outsmart some common smoking triggers:

  • Throw away your cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays if you haven’t already.
  • Avoid caffeine, which can make you feel jittery. Try drinking water instead.
  • Spend time with non-smokers.
  • Go to places where smoking isn’t allowed.
  • Get plenty of rest and eat healthy. Being tired can trigger you to smoke.
  • Change your routine to avoid the things you might associate with smoking. 

5. Stay Positive

Quitting smoking is difficult. It happens one minute…one hour…one day at a time. Try not to think of quitting as forever. Pay attention to today and the time will add up. It helps to stay positive. Your quit day might not be perfect, but all that matters is that you don’t smoke—not even one puff. Reward yourself for being smokefree for 24 hours. You deserve it. And if you’re not feeling ready to quit today, set a quit date that makes sense for you. It’s OK if you need a few more days to prepare to quit smoking.