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Choosing the Day to Quit Smoking

When is the Best Time to Quit Smoking?

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Updated August 14, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Choosing the Day to Quit Smoking

Photo: Stockxpert

How about NOW!

It's so easy to put off quitting...

Has anyone ever told you that "you'll quit smoking when you're ready"? If you wait for the perfect time to quit smoking, it may never come. You could find yourself facing a serious smoking-related illness while you're waiting to be "ready." Not a pleasant thought, but the fact is, it happens every day. Tobacco kills upwards of 470,000 people in the United States every year. And globally, a person dies a smoking-related death every 8 seconds.

Life is busy and it can seem like there is never a good time to quit. Go ahead and pick a date, but when making your choice, consider your schedule. A little thought and planning will help you get started on the right foot.

Dates to Avoid When Starting Your Quit Program

Avoid beginning your quit program when you are under extraordinary stress. We all have stress in our daily lives, but if you're facing unusual pressure or have suffered a recent loss, consider giving yourself a little space between the event and your quit smoking date. Smoking cessation takes a lot of focus early on, so it makes sense to shift your quit date slightly if you've recently experienced or anticipate one of the following situations:
  • A big event such as an upcoming marriage, graduation, finals etc.
  • A loss or traumatic event, such as a death in the family or a divorce
  • Other particularly stressful events in your life.
That said, please bear in mind that as smokers, it doesn't take much to talk ourselves out of getting started with cessation, so use care that you don't avoid quitting because you're just not ready to face it.

Choose a Meaningful Date to Quit Smoking

You might want to choose a day to quit smoking that has special meaning for you. For most of us, quitting tobacco is an emotional event, and picking a date that has personal significance can make the event more meaningful, and serve as motivation. Popular quit dates include:
  • Birthdays - either yours or that of a loved one
  • July 4th - Independence day!
Months and even years can easily slip by before we finally decide to put our cigarettes down and quit smoking. Once you've picked your quit date, stick to it. Start the work of educating yourself about what to expect when you begin your quit program, and gather some supplies to have on hand.Nicotine addiction is insidious, and the fear most of us feel when thinking about quitting can be paralyzing. Don't let that happen to you. Get serious, start planning, and set the date to make your quit program a reality.

It's worth the work - your precious life is worth the work!

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