The advice you are about to read is based on the answers you gave to the questions on Wednesday, 27 September 2023. You told us that you are not using it for yourself, but to find out how it works. Sometimes when pretending to be a smoker interested in quitting, you can answer questions inconsistently. This can lead to apparent discrepancies in the advice provided. That said, it should give you a good idea of the sort of advice that QuitCoach provides. You can print it out (use the pdf version) and you will be able to refer to it whenever you feel the need.
Your current situation
You are planning to quit. That's great. Freeing yourself from your addiction to cigarettes will be one of the best gifts you ever give yourself.
This program helps you work out what you need to do to quit smoking. It offers advice on how to resist temptations. More importantly, it gives advice on how to remove the sources of the temptations so that you no longer want to smoke. Not only can it help you become a nonsmoker, but the skills that you develop and ideas you gain from the program can help you deal with similar kinds of problems in the future.
To quit successfully, you are going to need to understand where and when you rely on cigarettes and find alternatives to having a cigarette. You can wait until you quit to find other ways of coping, or you can use this program to help you prepare now.
It is also important to realise that while you rely on smoking, it's a false friend. You'll find yourself much better off when you escape its attraction and find other ways of coping - ways that are actually more effective in the long run.
Even though quitting is hard, you can make it a lot easier by using the right strategies.
Set your quit day for as soon from now as you can, there is nothing to gain from delay. Once you set a quit day, make sure you stick to it.
When you quit, we recommend you try to quit smoking altogether rather than cut down gradually. However, it's a personal choice, and you may have good reason to cut down gradually. If you decide to cut down, you need to adopt a structured approach. More advice on how to quit is given in the Strategies for Stopping Advice Sheet.
For more information on this program, click on How QuitCoach works, which can also be found on the additional resources page.
Are you addicted to smoking?
From what you have told us, you smoke a small amount regularly and can resist smoking in your favourite situations, but with some difficulty. At this point it is unclear whether this is purely due to you enjoying smoking, or to the early stages of situational dependence. Situational dependence is the first stage of addiction. It means that you have an addictive need to smoke in certain situations. You are losing control. There are strong forces that are likely to result in your cigarette consumption increasing, and you smoking in more and more situations. If this happens, you are likely to end up comprehensively addicted. As this process continues, it becomes harder and harder to quit. Don't let yourself get caught on this slippery slope.
Implications of your recent quitting history
It has been many months since you last tried to quit. Think back and try to remember where you had problems, then think about what you can do to overcome them. If it is too long ago to remember, try experimenting with not smoking in situations where you normally do, or try to have a smokefree day. This will help you get a better idea of the challenges you face and you will then be able to make plans to overcome them. The Understanding Your Smoking Advice Sheet will help you to do this.
Implications of recent experiences
You have indicated that you are using electronic cigarettes. We cannot provide much advice about electronic cigarettes as there is currently little information about their effectiveness and safety. Though there is some preliminary research suggesting that electronic cigarettes reduce cravings, we feel it is important to warn you that there is no good study showing that they actually increase your chances of successfully quitting long term. You may be better off using the tried and true nicotine replacement products. If you continue to use them, you should make sure you get them from a reputable supplier.
Reasons for quitting
If you don't know whether you have a health problem caused by your smoking, talk to your doctor about it. It is almost certain that you have already done some damage, even if it isn't noticeable. Smoking is a cause of an extensive range of illnesses and other problems, so even if you haven't got a major smoking related problem yet, your health will almost certainly improve after you quit. Find out more about how smoking harms your body.
Your answers tell us that you are motivated and ready to quit. Keep your reasons for quitting clear in your mind and up front for when you go through the rough patches. At this point, you need to focus most of your energy on understanding the role smoking plays in your life, and finding ways to get these things without smoking. The Understanding Your Smoking Advice Sheet will help you to do this, and we suggest you pay particular attention to the advice below under 'The Value You Give Smoking' and 'Overcoming Obstacles'.
The value you give smoking
You are very well placed to make a quit attempt because you can enjoy being in smokefree situations, and you don't see any real benefit in continuing to smoke. You're absolutely right - there are no benefits, and as you progress through the tough, early stages of quitting, remember that any thoughts about 'needing' a cigarette are your addiction trying to take control. You'll need to be strong to overcome this, but you can do it if you keep reminding yourself that there's nothing you can gain from smoking, and that you'll be so much better off when you liberate yourself from your addiction.
From what you tell us it sounds as if you are feeling pretty good at the moment. You are ready to face a challenge, and although it might involve some pain, you are up to it. If you go into it well prepared you will be able to overcome any problems that you face, because you'll have a plan and a strategy for every situation.
Your social and living situation
You have a smokefree home. This is a great position to be in as you approach quitting. Enjoy it, and practice not going out to smoke if you possibly can. Think about what you are going out to smoke for, and try to find alternatives. As you do so, think about why you felt the need to smoke that cigarette. Sometimes you will be able to resist, at other times you might eventually need to go outside. Doing this will help you understand the role smoking plays in your life, and what might be involved when you quit.
Having a mix of smoking and nonsmoking friends is a good situation for quitting. Spend some time watching the nonsmokers around you. You will notice that cigarettes aren't needed to have a good time. Try doing what they do. Talking to ex-smokers about strategies they used to quit may also be useful. However, you will need to decide what strategies are best for you.
You don't see temptations to smoke as a problem and you're confident in your ability to quit. That's great - go for it. However, beware of over-confidence. Don't let yourself be disillusioned if things don't turn out to be as easy as you anticipated. Remember, there is absolutely no doubt that quitting is worthwhile. Focus your attention on challenging any beliefs you may still have about benefits of smoking. There is no reason why you shouldn't quit within a week or so. If you reject that idea, it suggests that there really are potential problems that you haven't been prepared to face.
What to do now
The advice you have received today is intended to be only a brief overview of your current situation, providing general guidance on the steps you need to take to quit smoking successfully. There are two main challenges involved in getting you to quit smoking: making the decision to quit and setting a date, and then following through and actually stopping.
We encourage you to decide whether you should quit or not as soon as possible. As soon as you decide on an attempt, give it a go, unless you decide to use a prescription-only medication that you need to take for a week or so before you stop smoking. You can plan your strategies for staying stopped after you have quit. This may be the best time to do this as they are fresh in your mind. Every day you smoke you are losing an average of 5 hours off your life.
Read this advice letter carefully, and use the suggestions you think might help, and return to review your progress when QuitCoach suggests it.
To get the most out of QuitCoach you should use it to review your progress and allow it to give you new, more up-to-date advice. We recommend you return and review your situation, by completing a new assessment after you decide to quit. You should do so just before or just after you quit, unless you need more advice on setting a date.
To get the most out of this program, think about the text messages we can send you from the QuitTxt program. If they suggest trying something, give it a go. The advice is likely to be helpful. However, always use your judgment, and if it doesn't feel right, go with your instincts, as long as this is not an excuse to avoid doing something that will take a bit of effort. Quitting successfully does require work from you.
This site is not meant to replace the advice of a doctor.
You should not rely on any information on these pages, or information generated for you by this site, to replace speaking to your doctor about your own specific situation.