Quitting Smoking – The 5 Stages of Quitting

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in how give up smoking

Dr. Howell

Thousands of people attempt to quit smoking every day. Unfortunately, only a small number are able to make it. Getting rid of a negative behavior takes time, will and determination. Sometimes, it’s going to take you several tries before you finally quit smoking for good. However, by knowing the 5 critical stages of quitting, you can significantly increase the possibility of succeeding at your first attempt. You may not realize it at this point but you could already be at the fourth or fifth stage – you just have to stick to it and push harder.


First Stage – the Precontemplation

A lot of smokers are still in this stage wherein they never seriously thought about the need to change their Addiction-concept-with-cigaret-52237315behavior. Despite the encouragements from friends, family and doctors, smokers are not convinced that their habit is going to have a dramatic impact on their health and quality of life. Or, it is possible that they are just denying it.

Second Stage – Contemplation

In this stage, smokers begin to understand the value of changing their unhealthy behavior. But this stage can last anywhere from a moment to a lifetime! Most smokers who attempt to quit are often stuck at this stage. They know that smoking is bad for their physical and mental health, work, relationship and finances but they don’t give extra effort to ‘do’ something. It’s like exercising. People know that they should exercise but only a few does. If you are stuck in this stage, maybe you can consider reframing the value of the change you are contemplating. Motivate yourself with more reasons.


Third Stage – Determination

In this stage, smokers begin to prepare themselves mentally and physically to quit smoking. They start to

DID YOU KNOW?


To achieve a better quality of life, change is inevitable. We need to continuously strive to change our negative habits and build positive ones. If you are a smoker, you want to begin this transformation change by quitting today.

create a concrete action plan. The smoker may throw all his cigarettes, shift from being a couch potato to a sport enthusiast, read self-help books about quitting, talk to a smoking cessation specialist, find support groups online, etc.

Fourth Stage – Action  

The moment the person stops smoking, he or she is in the fourth stage. It may be a stressful stage but it’s worth all the effort. Here, smokers choose to put in action what they contemplated in words: STOP SMOKING. But the journey doesn’t end here.

Fifth Stage – Maintenance

The last and probably the longest is the ‘maintenance’ stage.  It means continuing to stop smoking for as long as possible, ideally for good. This is the most challenging part. In fact, about 90 percent ultimately begin smoking again, according to the study by the University of Florida. One of the reasons why many smokers fail in this stage is that they believe that the methods or strategies they used to initiate the change are equally as effective as the strategies needed to continue the change. But often, we need to find more ways to remain smoke-free.

To achieve a better quality of life, change is inevitable. We need to continuously strive to change our negative habits and build positive ones. If you are a smoker, you want to begin this transformative change by quitting today. You would have to go through the five stages of change to reach your goal. And wherever stage you are now, just keep moving forward. Quitting smoking today is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself and to the people you love.


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