Smoking: Choosing a Good Time to Quit

Topic Overview

Some unsuccessful attempts to quit smoking result from picking a bad time. If your life is hectic, you may feel there will never be a good time to quit. In that case, pick a time to quit, and do what you can to make your life less stressful or busy than it usually is. Be aware that if you wait for a "perfect" time to quit, you may end up putting off the decision for years.

If you are thinking of quitting today, while you are motivated, that may be best.

Anytime that you can focus your energy and attention on your goal of quitting smoking is a good time to quit. Also, certain days may be good choices for your first smoke-free day. Consider quitting:

  • On New Year's Day.
  • On the American Cancer Society's "Great American Smoke-Out" on the Thursday before Thanksgiving. This event is widely publicized, so you will probably see information and support in the media.
  • On your birthday.
  • On a special day that has meaning to a friend or family member who wants you to quit.
  • When you are ill or having a troublesome smoking-related symptom.
  • On the first day of a vacation.
  • When a friend or relative is quitting.

Bad times to quit include:

  • High-stress times.
  • Times when you feel low or depressed.
  • Periods in which you have little contact with friends or family. But if those friends or family members smoke or if you are usually around people who smoke, a good time to quit might be a period of time when you are away from them.
  • Just before a holiday. (Holidays require a lot of energy and may provide more temptations than other times of the year).
  • Right after a serious loss or difficult life change (the death of someone close, a stressful move). But if the life change is seen as progress toward a better future, it might be a good time to quit. For example, immediately following a divorce may be a bad time or a very good time to quit, depending on your attitude toward this life change.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer John Hughes, MD - Psychiatry
Last Revised August 15, 2013

Last Revised: August 15, 2013

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