How and Why to Pick a Quit Date

Quitting tobacco is different for everyone. We’ve all heard stories about people who put down their cigarettes one day and never pick them back up again, but for most tobacco users, it takes some preparation and planning to be successful. Setting a Quit Date gives you time to prepare and is an important first step.

Why Should I Pick a Quit Date?

Have you ever told yourself that pretty soon you were going to stop smoking, but pretty soon never came? Something always seemed to get in the way or it just didn’t seem to be the right time. But when you set a Quit Date you are making a commitment to at least try to quit. And trying is the first step towards success.

A Quit Date gives you a goal to work towards, allows you time to prepare, and tells yourself and those around you that you are serious about quitting.

How Do I Pick a Quit Date?

So how do you go about picking a Quit Date? When you quit is up to you, but here are some things to keep in mind:

  • For some, picking a work day is better than the weekend because most people can’t smoke at work anyway and work serves as a good distraction. For others, the weekend seems better because they have less demand on their time, less stress, and they can arrange their weekend to best support their first two days of being tobacco-free.
  • Some people want to quit right away and others like to have some time to plan. In general we recommend allowing some time to plan and prepare. Setting your Quit Date a couple of weeks in the future allows you to do things like track your smoking patterns, practice a “mini-quit” to see what coping skills work for you, build your circle of support, and tobacco-proof places like your house and car. Studies show you are less likely to actually try to quit if you set your quit date farther out than 2 weeks.
  • If you plan to use a quit medication then make sure you have it on hand and know how to use it correctly before your Quit Date.
  • Look at your calendar and think about any events coming up that might cause you stress (a wedding, big work meeting, college exams, etc.). You may want to set your Quit Date after a major event so that you are not tempted to go back to using tobacco after your Quit Date.
  • Friends, spouses or family members who plan to quit at the same time need to coordinate their Quit Date. It’s a good idea to sit down together and select a date that works for everyone

Setting a Quit Date is the first step towards your healthy new life. Take the time to think it through and make a commitment to yourself that you will “try” your best to quit on that day.