10 Steps to Quitting Smoking

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

Dr. Howell

Some smokers are more likely to see quitting as a huge obstacle. However, it will be more realistic, more helpful to see it as a continuing, step-by-step journey. Here’s how you can plan your quit program and what to anticipate as you go along the way.

No Smoking SignConsider quitting. Try to observe the negative effects of smoking. You can discuss it with your fellow smokers – are they experiencing or suffering from any health issues associated with smoking? You can stand in front of the mirror, see for yourself how you look like when you smoke – do you like what you see?

Seek more knowledge about quitting smoking. Read or watch videos about quitting smoking. Familiarize yourself of your smoking pattern, and the effects of quitting and the ways to deal with them. Explore healthier alternatives.

Gradually modify your smoking pattern. You can change brand, or cut on your cigarettes, and keep a journal of these changes – what triggers you to light more cigarette? Look for healthier ways to cope with stress like learning a new sports or hobby.


Decide to quit. As you write entries on your journal, keep track of your triggers and list down your reasons for quitting. Also, brushing your teeth a number of times a day and limiting yourself to one pack of cigarette every time you go to a convenient store will help your effort when quitting. You can also switch brands every week, each brand having lower tar than the previous.

Set a date. Choose a date that you are less likely to be stressed, stress being one of the top triggers of smoking. Prepare at least 3 responses to your top triggers.

Don’t smoke for 24 hours. Visit your dentist, or brush your teeth several times to remove the taste of cigarette in your mouth. Also, keep yourself busy by doing healthy activities like going to the gym, walking in the park, or cleaning your home.

Don’t smoke for a week. At this stage it is important that you reward your efforts. It is also important that you avoid smoking areas or going to places where you are most likely to be tempted to light a cigarette. It is this stage that your withdrawal symptoms peaks. Find ways to lessen stress, like going to a spa, doing exercise, eating healthy diet, etc. You can also use smoking cessation aids like NRTs, Chantix, etc. However, make sure to consult your doctor.



Don’t smoke for a month. It is best that by this time you have developed a new healthier hobby or routine. Also, a healthy diet to accompany your quit program will boosts your efforts.

Don’t smoke for 4 months. Increase your fitness level, but don’t forget to reward yourself. By this time try to cut back on your NRTs or any prescription meds.

Remain nicotine-free for a year and beyond. By this stage, you can celebrate, but don’t let your guard down. One cigarette may lead to relapse. It is best to continue your fitness program to keep your body healthy.


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