By QuitNet team member Corrie Mook
If you’re visiting QuitNet, chances are good that you’ve quit smoking, are planning to quit, or are curious about what quitting might look like for you. For those who haven’t quit yet, this is the time to make some important decisions. You may be asking, “How will I deal with cravings?” “Will I use some form of nicotine replacement therapy?” or “When should I start?”
This last question is a big one. For many people, marking the date when you’ll stop using tobacco can be an important first step of the quitting process. It becomes a declaration of commitment: this time, there’s no turning back. Studies have shown that setting a date within two to four weeks is the ideal time frame, because you have time to make a plan, gather items for your quit kit, and decide if nicotine replacement therapy is right for you. (Don’t forget to ask your doctor about getting a prescription; it’s a good way to save money!) It can be easy to lose your momentum by setting a quit date too far into the future, so if you’re ready to make a change, it’s best to “strike while the iron is hot.”
That said, some people in QuitNet choose a quit date that is more than four weeks in the future. They may pick that date because it celebrates or honors a milestone or anniversary. (Note that this can work for some smokers, but others may want to “celebrate” the occasion by smoking. If the day will be emotionally charged, it’s best to pick a different day.) It may be because they’re waiting for a doctor’s appointment to get prescription medication for their quit. Others may simply lack confidence that they can truly live a smoke-free life, and they want extra time to prepare.
But anyone who’s thinking about quitting smoking needs the support of the QuitNet community, especially if their quit date is a little further out. Quitting smoking can be daunting, and every person’s quit journey is unique. Understanding and encouragement from the community can make all the difference – no matter what timeline another member chooses.