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Steps to Help You Quit Smoking

QuitAdvisorMD’s patient site is meant to help smokers understand the process of quitting smoking better and to provide resources to help them. When trying to quit smoking or make other healthy changes in your life, your path to change usually includes several steps along the way. The QuitAdvisorMD patient site is organized to help you with appropriate information organized by where you are in the process.

Deciding About Change

The second stage of making a change such as quitting smoking is very common, and you may stay in this stage a long time. While researchers call it "Contemplation," it could also be called "Decisions." In this stage, you are not yet planning change, but you see how change could be good. Still, you like things about smoking and you're not sure you want to change yet. These mixed feelings are very common, but can keep you stuck—wanting to change, but not wanting to give up things you like. Helpful tasks at this stage include making lists of the likes and dislikes of smoking, and of the risks of smoking and rewards of quitting. Thinking about your deeper values can also help to provide you with extra motivation to overcome the pull of smoking, and to tip the balance from mixed feelings to resolution—that you want to quit. You're then ready for the next stage, Preparing for Change.

  • 80% of smokers find themselves in the two early stages of change (Not Planning Change Now or this one) when they enter the process of change.


At, you can read about some good things about quitting.

You can also read about and list some reasons for quitting here at

Below are some activities to help you think about your smoking. Try a few, and you can talk about your thoughts next time you meet with your doctor.

Think about the things you like about smoking and the things you dislike:

Likes Dislikes
Helps me relax Costs a lot of money
Helps me socialize Catch a lot of colds
  Smells bad

Fill in and print your own likes and dislikes

Think about some of the risks of smoking and the rewards of quitting:

Risks of smoking Rewards of quitting
Increased risk of heart diseaseImproved health
Increased risk of cancerFood will taste better
Increased risk of asthma and other breathing problemsImproved sense of smell
 Saving money
 Feeling better about oneself
 Home, car, clothing, breath will smell better
 Setting a good example for children and decreasing the likelihood that they will smoke
 Having healthier babies and children
 Feeling better physically
 Performing better in physical activities
 Improved appearance, including reduced wrinkling/aging of skin and whiter teeth

Fill in and print your own risks and rewards

How Much Does Smoking Cost?

Cost per pack: $
Packs per day:
  Calculate Cost
Cost per Month:
Cost per Year:

Would Quitting Add Years to My Life?

Stopping smoking at age 30 gains about 10 years of life expectancy.

Stopping smoking at age 40 gains about 9 years of life expectancy.

Stopping smoking at age 50 gains about 6 years of life expectancy.

Stopping smoking at age 60 gains about 3 years of life expectancy.

It's worth it!

This data is from Doll et al. Mortality in relation to smoking: 50 years' observations on male British doctors. BMJ 22 June 2004.

Take the Why Do I Smoke? Quiz

The Family Doctor website has a good quiz that can help you understand what kind of smoker you are. Take it and see! Why Do I Smoke?

Helpful Websites

These are websites that contain a lot of helpful information about quitting smoking and tools to help you. Many people find gathering the kind of information found here to be very helpful in their quit attempt.

This is a good website for you to use on your own to find good information and resources for quitting smoking. It includes links to live helplines and an online step-by-step guide to quitting. This site is free of charge and does not require you to set up an account.
Sponsors: US Government: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health

On this website, you can create a free account that allows you to tailor your own online support program to your specific needs and track your progress in quitting smoking. It includes a helpful handbook that can be downloaded for free, as well as access to online support chat groups.
Sponsor: Evolution Health Systems, Inc.

This website offers detailed online modules/workbooks to support you through the entire process of quitting, from thinking about quitting, to making a plan, to staying smoke-free. This is a good site for you if you want a more thorough home-help program. This site requires you to create a free account.
Sponsor: American Lung Association

Ideas to Help You Get Ready

You can do some things to reduce your risk and to help you get ready to try to quit smoking:

  • Stop smoking in the house
  • Cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke each day
  • Sit in the no-smoking section at restaurants
  • Delay the first cigarette of the day has been developed by Silverchair and the University of Virginia Department of Family Medicine
with funding from the National Institute of Drug Abuse. ©2009 Silverchair. All rights reserved.