The difference between “I’d like to be a non-smoker,” and “I am a nonsmoker” starts with a dream and ends with a commitment. To get from one place to another is a journey that begins with recognizing all the advantages of becoming smoke-free. Although we know that having the right frame of mind and having a plan in place are important steps in this process. We also know that some people may always say, “I’m not quite ready to set a quit date.”
If you have simply put some thought into quitting or even taken a few steps such as cutting down, but have never committed to setting a quit date, we would encourage you to reconsider. Setting a quit date makes your goal a reality. Here are some steps you can take for setting your quit date:
1. Put some thought into picking a quit date that will work best for you. Some people think weekends work better, while others feel that Monday is a natural day for a new beginning. Still others think that mid-week is a comfortable place to start. Only you can determine what day will be best suited to begin your road to a new smoke-free life.
2. As close as possible to your quit date, clean your environment. Remove ashtrays and lighters and freshen up your surroundings as much as possible (such as washing curtains, cleaning your car, etc.)
3. Have quit kits or other coping skills in order. Consider things that will keep your hands and mouth busy, such as gum, mints, straws, cinnamon sticks, stress balls, etc. Be sure you have your kits available in your home, work, and car.
4. Talk to your healthcare provider about your new goal and seek assistance, support, and advice on medications you should consider.
5. Reach for your support! Let your loved ones know what your quit date is, and begin talking about this date as a positive, significant event in your life.
You are taking one of the most important steps in your life by setting your quit date. Good luck on your journey to become smoke free!
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