Get prepared

Quitting is easier when you’re prepared. Knowing what to expect and how to overcome challenges will make all the difference. Here are some tips on how to make a quit plan so you're prepared to deal with cravings and tricky situations.

When you're ready,  create your own personalized Quit Plan.

1. Pick a quit date that works for you.

Turn your wish into a concrete plan by setting your date and sticking to it.  Pick a date within the next two weeks -- long enough that you’ll have time to prepare, but not so long that you’ll change your mind. Read more tips for how to pick a quit date.

2. Pick your top three reasons for quitting.  

Everyone has their own reasons for quitting, and knowing yours will help you stay motivated. Make a list of your top reasons and keep it visible at home, work and in your car. These will be important if you’re tempted to smoke and you need a reminder of why you chose to quit. 

3. Manage triggers, cravings and withdrawal

Start paying attention to when you smoke -- the time, place, people you’re with, and how you are feeling. For most people, a few predictable triggers – like alcohol or stress - are responsible for many of their cravings. Cravings usually last a few minutes so make a list of things you can do to avoid your triggers and cope with cravings.

Nicotine withdrawal is strongest during the first week of quitting. The best way to reduce withdrawal and double your chances of quit success is to use quitting aids like Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) or prescription medications. 

4. Choose a quit method

Quitting can be hard, but there are many ways to quit that are more effective than going cold turkey, including nicotine replacement therapy, medications and counselling support. And the more quit methods you choose, the greater your chances of quit success. 

Check out our services that will help make your quit journey easier: 

  • Phone support: Get coaching from our Quit Coaches at 1-877-455-2233
  • Live chat 
  • Text support: text QUITNOW to 654321 
  • Web support: create your personalized Quit Plan

5. Tell your friends and family

Quitting is easier when you have friends and family on your side. The more people in your corner, the greater your chances of quitting. Here are some tips for seeking support:

  • Let everyone know why you are quitting and when.
  • Ask those that smoke to not smoke around you or offer you a cigarette (even if you ask).
  • Let them know you might be a bit grumpy or out of sorts for awhile and to be patient.
  • Ask them to organize activities where smoking is not an option.
  • Ask someone to be your backup when attending events that might cause major cravings.  

6. Prepare your surroundings

Get rid of your smoking materials and reminders at home, work and in your car. 

  • Remove ashtrays, lighters and smoking materials that can be a trigger. 
  • Clean the walls, carpets and furniture to remove the stains and odour of smoke. 
  • Give your clothes a good clean and if possible hang them outside to freshen up. Dry clean your coats and suits. 
  • Visit your dentist to clean your teeth and get rid of smoking stains. Your teeth will sparkle again.
7. Surviving Quit Day
The first day of your quit can be challenging, but there are things you can do to deal with Quit Day and remain smoke-free. 

Gather your supplies

Healthy snacks: help beat cravings, satisfy increased appetite and keep you distracted:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Fresh veggies
  • Unbuttered popcorn
  • Pretzels
  • Herbal teas
  • Mints
  • Cinnamon sticks (to keep your mouth busy)

Games and Gadgets: help keep your hands busy and mind distracted: 

  • Stress ball
  • Rubik’s cube
  • Games on phone
  • Hobby supplies (knitting, painting)
  • Puzzles
  • Yo-yo
  • Cards

Quitting aids: reduce withdrawal symptoms and double your chances of quit success.
If you’re going to use NRT (gum, patches, lozenges, inhaler), make sure you have it ready to go on quit day. Visit your local pharmacy and sign a declaration form to receive free NRT. Visit your doctor well before your quit date if taking prescription medicationsto ensure they have time to kick in.

Stay busy

Withdrawal is strongest during the first few days  of your quit. The day will go by faster if you keep busy and hit the ground running: 

  • Get productive.  Get your errands done, clean up the house or finish that job you’ve been avoiding. 
  • Get active. Go to the gym, go for a bike ride, a run, or do any activity you enjoy and that will get those endorphins going..
  • Get social. Make plans with friends and family - go for a long walk, go see a movie, or take in some sights in beautiful BC. 

Change up your routine

Shake up your daily routine to reduce the triggers to smoke. Each cigarette is connected to specific activities or events, and is intertwined with your routines so change up your daily habits.  

  • Instead of drinking coffee in the morning, try drinking tea or fresh orange juice, or drink coffee at a different time and place.
  • Instead of driving to work, try taking the bus or catching a ride to work with someone who doesn’t smoke.
  • Instead of taking coffee breaks with smoking buddies, fly solo for a while or hangout with some non-smoking friends. 
  • Instead of sitting around and smoking after a meal, get moving right away and tackle the dishes, go for a walk or brush your teeth.

Be on guard for risky situations

Alcohol & social gatherings: Alcohol is the single biggest reason that people have slips or go back to regular smoking. 

  • Avoid alcohol for the first few weeks of your quit. It will be easiest to simply cut out booze for the first couple of weeks until the withdrawal has passed and you are in control. 
  • If you decide to drink alcohol, try cutting down, or switching up your drinks. Consider alternating alcohol with a non-alcoholic drink.
  • Plan an exit strategy. When drinking or attending big social events, be ready to leave if you’re feeling under stress or ready to crave.  

Stress: Finding new, healthy ways of coping with stress is important for maintaining a long-term quit. 

  • Exercising.  A few push ups or a quick run are great ways to burn off steam.
  • Getting more sleep.  Stress is always easier to deal with after a good night’s sleep.
  • Taking yoga or meditation classes. A regular routine of guided relaxation will help keep stress at bay.
  • Breathing deeply. A minute of deep breathing can do wonders to reduce stress and improve your mood.

Being around other smokers: Can be a major trigger for craving a smoke and is a common reason for slips.

  • If at all possible, avoid people who smoke. This is especially important at the beginning of your quit when you are still experiencing strong withdrawal and cravings.
  • Ask your friends to support your quit. If you have friends who smoke ask them not to offer you a cigarette, even if you ask for one. And ask that they don’t smoke around you.
  • Take nicotine gum, inhaler or mist to an event where you know there will be other smokers. This will help reduce the cravings.
  • Ask for backup to a buddy. If you know you’ll be socializing with friends who smoke, enlist the help of a friend who doesn’t smoke to ensure you don’t cave to a craving.