On the path to quitting smoking, there are often 5 stages people go through, each involving different challenges and successes. What stage are you in right now?

Not Ready to Quit

When someone tries to talk to you about giving up cigarettes, do you tune them out, change the subject, or tell them it's too hard to stop right now?

Have you heard many times that you should stop smoking, but you’re not even thinking of doing anything about it? If this is you, then you're in the pre-contemplative stage of quitting. In other words, you’re not ready to quit.

You may have tried to quit before and feel discouraged or believe you’re too hooked to ever stop. Even hearing about the health benefits of quitting doesn’t change your mind.

Even if the time isn’t right for you to make a change, there might be some information on MyHealth.Alberta.ca for you. Read Not ready for change? to learn about checking in with yourself and how to know when the time is right. You can also learn ‘How to lessen harm when you don’t want to quit’.

Just remember, you can come back to AlbertaQuits anytime to continue your journey.

Thinking about Quitting

Are you more aware of the personal costs of smoking and feel more open to change soon?

Do you find yourself thinking about quitting soon (maybe in 6 months or even less), but you’re not actively searching for information or support right now? If so, you’re in the contemplative stage of quitting.

At this stage, you may feel open to getting information about smoking. You’re becoming more aware of the impact smoking has on you. Smoking seems like a problem that will take determination to overcome. You think about the things that might stop you from quitting—but you’re also starting to feel like it might be worth the effort. You may even be getting the confidence to imagine yourself changing.

Go to MyHealth.Alberta.ca to read about ‘Deciding when it’s time for you to quit smoking’. You’ll see information about finding your reasons to quit smoking and choosing a time that is right for you.

When you feel ready to take the next step towards quitting, come back to AlbertaQuits for information to get you prepared!

Getting Ready to Quit

Have you decided that it’s time to make a change, and may have even set a date to quit smoking?

You’re actively making plans to quit smoking. You’re collecting information, feeling motivated to learn the skills to successfully quit, and may be gathering gear and supplies to take your first steps. In fact, you might have made some changes already, like smoking fewer cigarettes. Even if you haven’t taken any of those steps, that’s okay. You’re in the right place to get ready to stop smoking.

Read Building a Quit Plan to learn about the steps you can take at this stage of your journey. Knowing what to expect and being prepared for any challenges will help you feel in control and ready to successfully quit. Let’s get started!

Quitting Now

Are you putting your plans into action and actively trying to stop smoking now?

This is it, where all your preparation to quit comes into play. You're no longer smoking and you’re carrying out your quit plan. You’ve stocked up on healthy snacks and have activities to keep yourself distracted. You’re using short-term rewards to stay motivated and find yourself turning to family and friends to keep going. You’re doing everything you can to stay quit, but you need support to stay on track. You’re in the action stage of quitting.

Supporting your quit

Quitting is hard, but you don’t have to do it alone. There are many supports to help you stick with your quit.

  • Talk to a counsellor at the AlbertaQuits helpline. FREE for all Alberta residents, it's open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week. Call toll-free at 1-866-710-7848.
  • Reach out to your doctor or other healthcare provider for one-to-one tobacco counselling.
  • If you’re experiencing a lot of withdrawal symptoms talk to your pharmacist. They can help make sure the quitting medications you're using are right for you.

MyHealth.Alberta.ca also has some information about common quitting challenges like Smoking to Relieve Tension or Improve Mood, What to Do When You Crave NicotineDealing with Weight Gain and Coping With Cravings and Withdrawal.

Staying Quit

Have you quit smoking for at least 6 months and are feeling more confident in your ability to live a smoke-free life?

You've learned to expect temptations to smoke and you’re able to handle them. You use new ways of coping with stress, boredom, and social pressures instead of reaching for a cigarette. Even though you may have had a slip along the way, you’ve learned from those experiences and are now more determined than ever to stay smoke-free. Congratulations, you’re officially a non-smoker in the maintenance stage of change!

Continuing your success

Even after you’ve been smoke-free for a while, cravings and triggers are still real. Reach out to those who supported you when you first quit smoking. Friends and family can help you stay quit for good.

If you’re feeling like you need more:

  • Connect with other people and share your stories. Join AlbertaQuits Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Create a group on your favourite social media outlet to talk to others who've gone through the journey to quit and celebrate each other’s milestones.

If you’re worried about relapse:

  • Talk to a counsellor at the AlbertaQuits helpline. FREE for all Alberta residents, it's open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week. Call toll-free at 1-866-710-7848.
  • Read Preventing Slips or Relapses on MyHealth.Alberta.ca.

Being smoke-free for good is a journey – it’s normal for there to be bumps in the road. You may go back and forth between the stages and that's okay. Just remind yourself of all the progress you’ve made and that your end goal is worth it. You’ve got this!

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