Health: How to Quit Smoking

Society | November 29, 2002, Friday // 00:00

Smokers often say, "Don't tell me why to quit, tell me how." There is no one right way to quit, but there are some key elements in quitting smoking successfully. These 4 factors are crucial:

**Making the decision to quit**

**Setting a quit date and choosing a quit plan**

**Dealing with withdrawal**

**Maintenance or staying quit**

Making the Decision to Quit

The decision to quit smoking is one that only you can make. Others may want you to quit, but the real commitment must come from you. Researchers have looked into how and why people stop smoking. They have some ideas, or models, of how this happens. The Health Belief Model says that you will be more likely to stop smoking if you:

**Believe that you could get a smoking-related disease and this worries you**

**Believe that you can make an honest attempt at quitting smoking**

**Believe that the benefits of quitting outweigh the benefits of continuing to smoke**

**Know of someone who has had health problems as a result of their smoking**

Do any of these apply to you?

The Stages of Change Model identifies the stages that a person goes through in making a change in behavior. Here are the stages as they apply to quitting smoking:

**Pre-contemplator?This is the smoker who is not thinking seriously about quitting right now**

**Contemplator? This is the smoker who is actively thinking about quitting but is not quite ready to make a serious attempt yet. This person may say, "Yes, I'm ready to quit, but the stress at work is too much, or I don't want to gain weight, or I'm not sure if I can do it"**

**Preparation? Smokers in the preparation stage seriously intend to quit in the next month and often have tried to quit in the past 12 months. They usually have a plan**

**Action? This is the first 6 months when the smoker is actively quitting**

**Maintenance? This is the period of 6 months to 5 years after quitting when the ex-smoker is aware of the danger of relapse and take steps to avoid it**

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