The Best Time to Stop Smoking

Blog Post created by dr_hurt on Mar 4, 2011

Sometimes one of the reasons we keep smoking is because we're waiting for the best time to stop.  We look into the future and predict when that best time will be, only to find out when we get there it is no longer the best time.  So we wait some more, make a new prediction and when the appointed time arrives, it still may not feel right.  This can happen for a variety of reasons, but the bottom line is that we're still smoking when that time finally arrives. 

How can we get out of this cycle?  Recognize that the ‘best’, perfect time to quit may be a form of postponing something that is difficult.  You know you will quit someday, so why not set yourself up for success sooner, rather than later?  Many people find it helpful to choose a stop time frame, rather than a stop date. 

A stop time frame allows you the freedom to quit anytime within a pre-chosen time frame, whenever you are most ready to quit and does not constrain you to a specific date, especially if that date arrives and it's no longer a good time for you to quit smoking.  This puts YOU in control, not the stop-date. 

So choose your time frame, get your patches ahead of time or whatever you will use to help you with the cravings, and then move forward with the intention of quitting smoking on your terms.  Don't wait for the ‘best’ time to quit because it may never arrive.  Choose your time frame and put yourself in charge of your smoke-free future.

Dr. Richard D. Hurt is an internationally recognized expert on tobacco dependence. A native of Murray, Kentucky, he joined Mayo Clinic in 1976 and is now a Professor of Medicine at its College of Medicine. In 1988, he founded the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and since then its staff has treated more than 50,000 patients for tobacco dependence. Send your questions directly to Dr. Hurt at AskTheExpert@becomeanex.org