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Your Comprehensive Program

Develop Your Program

Regardless of what specific program or techniques you use, there are a number of other strategies that successful smoking-cessation plans often include. Let's go over the essentials you'll want in your program.

Pick a Date

Once you know that you're ready, the next important step is to select a quit date. There's never a perfect time to quit smoking, you're probably saying. Maybe so, but you'll want to find the best time for you. Pick the day carefully. Consider everything that's going on in your life. Try to select a time when you will not be stressed by other events. (Or, if you're always stressed, try to select a time of less stress than usual!) Don't pick a time when you have exams, a work project due, a family wedding, or anything else that is unusually stressful. Timing is everything.

Your quit date doesn't have to be today or tomorrow (although it can be, if you're fully prepared!). Pick a day within the next few weeks. If you're having a hard time deciding the exact date when you're going to quit, start by narrowing the range of possibilities to a longer time period first. For example, select two months. Resolve to yourself that, during that time, you'll pick the date that will be your quit date. Set the date at least one week away from when you finally make your decision. This will give you some time to prepare-and to psyche yourself as well.

Since timing is so important to quitting, you may want to consider a certain special day to quit. For example, if it is close to a loved one's birthday (including your own) or a holiday like Thanks giving or New Year's, then those days might be appropriate. If you are ready to quit in the fall, you may want to target the Great American Smokeout, which takes place each year on the Thursday before Thanks giving. This is a national event, sponsored by the ACS. It's designed to provide the greatest national support for smokers thinking about quitting. On this day, every smoker is encouraged to give up cigarettes.

As the Great American Smokeout approaches, information about quitting is distributed at schools, worksites, and healthcare facilities. Newspapers arid magazines are filled with articles about smoking cessation. Every smoker is encouraged to participate and to abstain from smoking for as long as he or she can. This is a good opportunity to join others throughout the United States.

The idea for a national quit-smoking day began in the 1970s. In 1972, the ALA in Oklahoma sponsored a no-smoking day, and the ALA in Minnesota soon followed. In 1977, the ACS formally initiated the Great American Smokeout.

The program has been very successful. According to a Gallup poll, 90 percent or more of the United' States' population is aware of this program. More importantly, in recent years, over 10 percent of all smokers did not smoke on this day and approximately 30 percent more reduced their total number of cigarettes.

Many people use the Great American Smokeout as a spring-board to long-term success. By making the Thursday before Thanksgiving the focus of your efforts, you can feel like you belong with thousands of smokers across the country who will also attempt to free themselves from cigarettes on this day. (And, on Thanksgiving, you'll have a great reason to be thankful-you will be an ex-smoker for a week!)

The relative calm on the date you select should extend beyond your quit date. You want the calm to extend through (as much as possible) the period of the following day as well. For example, you might want to consider quitting during vacation time. Some people do best when they don't have regulat pressures on their minds. Others, however, may prefer to stay busy, figuring that will help to distract them. Once you pick the date, circle it on a calendar, which you should

put in a prominent place. As your quit day approaches, get rid of cigarettes, ash trays, and lighters, especially from the places where you spend a lot of time. On your quit day, wake up as a non-smoker. Focus all of your attention on not smoking that day. Tell anyone in whom you've chosen to confide about your plans to quit on this particular day.

Have your entire day planned. Keep busy. Make sure you include some enjoyable activities. Do something special to celebrate this momentous occasion. Remind yourself of your transition from smoker to ex-smoker and what it means to you.

Remember: once you've set the date, do it! Don't procrastinate!

Article Tags: Great American Smokeout, Quit Date, Great American, American Smokeout

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