Quit Day: 5 Steps

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You’ve decided to quit smoking. Congratulations! Your first day without cigarettes can be difficult. Here are five steps you can take to handle quit day and be confident about being able to stay quit.

1. Make a Quit Plan

Having a plan can make your quit day easier. A quit plan gives you ways to stay focused, confident, and motivated to quit. You can build your own quit plan or find a quit program that works for you. Check out SmokefreeTXT, QuitGuide app, or a quitline like 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848) to get started. If you don’t know what quit method might be right for you, visit the Quit Smoking Methods Explorer to learn more. No single approach to quitting works for everyone. Be honest about your needs. If using nicotine replacement therapy is part of your plan, be sure to start using it first thing in the morning.

2. 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:

  • 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.

3. 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 all your triggers. Here are some 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.
  • 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.

4. 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.

5. Ask for Help

You don’t need to rely on willpower alone to be smokefree. Tell your family and friends when your quit day is. Ask them for support on quit day and in the first few days and weeks after. They can help you get through the rough spots. Let them know exactly how they can support you. Don’t assume they’ll know.