How to Choose Your Quit Date

by Dr. Antonio Howell, MD

in Blog

The 3 Week Diet

The 3 Week Diet
Choose a day that will allow you to cope with withdrawal symptoms such as irritability and restlessness.  Plan for a stress-free day, yet have activities lined up that will keep you distracted—perhaps an outing with family or friends; a massage; or a spa day.  A long weekend or a short vacation time might be perfect timing, or if your workplace is smoke-free, being busy at work may be best for you.

Preparations for the Quit Date

Now you have a quit date you have work to do!


  • If you haven’t already, look at your smoking patterns, identify triggering situations and how you will cope without smoking.  If you have tried to quit before, pay special attention to the challenges you encountered.
  • Talk to friends and family and enlist their support.  You might also seek out a smoking cessation helpline for back-up during your early days of quitting.
  • Have special treats on hand such as your favorite fruits, sunflower seeds, vegetables and other low-calorie snacks; plan to drink lots of water and other beverages with no caffeine and low sugar content.
  • Have a supply of  sugarless gum.
  • If you smoke more than a pack a day, you may want to consider aids such as nicotine gum or patches.  I would suggest talking with your doctor about how to best use these aids and gradually wean yourself off them.

Your Last Smoke

Once your quit day is chosen, the previous day will include your “last smoke”.  Take the opportunity to consciously smoke the last one and throw away all lighters, cigarettes, and ashtrays. Remember to empty handbags and pockets.  If you are so inclined, you can make the process into a ritual, reaffirming to yourself what you are moving away from and what you are bringing into your life.  Promise yourself that you will do your best to never smoke again…not even a puff.


General Tips for Your First Weeks of Quitting

  • Remember you are detoxifying.  Notice positive changes as the nicotine leaves your body.  Notice how smoking urges do not last long and get shorter over time.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (avoiding sugar, caffeine and alcohol).
  • Get lots of rest.
  • Take walks
  • Enjoy showers and baths.
  • Avoid places where you will be exposed to smoke.
  • Reward yourself regularly—go to a movie, go shopping, do things you enjoy.
  • Congratulate yourself repeatedly.

Creative Commons License photo credit: zdaz14



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