Am I ready?

Your decision to quit smoking is usually not one that happens overnight. Everything in life goes through a process and this is the same for quitting smoking. Find out what stage you are at on your way to quitting for good.


Haven't really thought about quitting

In this stage you are not thinking about quitting, and are not ready to make any change to your smoking right now.

Things you might say or think

  • Smoking is not a problem for me
  • I'm not at risk of getting ill
  • I've smoked all my life; I'm fine
  • I enjoy it
  • It's the only pleasure I have
  • It's only a bad habit

How to get to thinking about quitting

  • Ask yourself what smoking means to you.
  • Is it important to you to continue smoking?
  • Are you smoking because you enjoy it or is it because you don't want to go through withdrawal?
  • Does smoking fit in with what you want to do, be and get out of life?

I'd like to quit but I don't know if I can

You are beginning to think about stopping smoking. You may be weighing up the positives and negatives of quitting.

Things you might say or think

  • I'm not sure I can stop smoking
  • I've mixed feelings about quitting
  • I want to quit but never seem to get around to it
  • I like to smoke but I need to quit
  • How will I cope without my cigarettes?
  • I don't want to put on weight
  • If I don't quit now I will never quit

How you can get to next stage and be ready to quit

If you are still not sure if you are going to try to quit you can read more in the I want to QUIT section and start getting ready to stop smoking. You are more likely to succeed in quitting if you take some time to prepare.


I'm going to try to quit, but how will I manage?

You have decided to try to quit smoking. You are starting to look at why you are smoking and maybe trying to reduce the amount you smoke and trying to figure out the best way to start stopping.

Things you might say or think

  • I smoke more than I used to
  • I want to quit and wonder if I can do it on my own
  • I've started looking closer at my smoking
  • I've cut down
  • I don't want to smoke anymore
  • I'll feel better
  • I can do this, I will find ways to deal with high risk situations

How to prepare

  • Keep a smoking diary to work out your smoking pattern and spot your triggers. 
  • Write down realistic ways to deal with or avoid situations that trigger you to smoke.
  • If you have tried to give up before think about what might have gone wrong and try something different. If you have a quit plan look at it again and figure out where you might have gone wrong, if not make one now. A one-to-one session with a HSE smoking cessation advisor is free and can help you figure out your best way to give up for good. Find out more
  • Find out what treatment might work for you and read about the different treatment options here.
  • Plan how you will quit smoking, you can start making your plan today.
  • Once you've made your plan set your quit date and work towards it
  • Consider getting support from the HSE QUIT Team


I haven't smoked for a week, it's hard but I feel much better

You have stopped smoking completely. You are using your alternatives for each situation or trigger. You are gaining confidence.

Things you might say or think

  • I have stopped smoking
  • I have some cravings but they come and go quickly
  • I miss my cigarettes
  • I'm proud of my achievement
  • I'm taking a day at a time
  • I have more energy
  • I'm a calmer person
  • I only miss them in the evenings

How to make sure you stay of them

  • Keep looking at your quit plan to help you stay stopped
  • Use relaxation techniques and rewards to reinforce not smoking, with all the money that you are saving you can afford to treat yourself
  • Withdrawals are a positive sign that the effects of smoking are leaving your body and they won\'t last. Click here to find out how to cope with the withdrawals
  • Remind yourself of the 4  Ds: Distract, Delay, Drink water, Deep breaths
  • Make a list of the good things that have happened because you have given up smoking such as, your clothes don't smell, you can run up stairs without getting out of breath.


I can't remember the last time I wanted a smoke

You have quit smoking for more than six months. Not smoking is now a normal part of your life. You believe that you have stopped smoking for good.  You have learned how to deal with your triggers. You plan for risky situations in advance and can list the benefits of your smoke-free life.

Things you might say or think

  • I'm no longer counting the days
  • I will not smoke again
  • It was difficult but it is worth it
  • My life is no longer waiting for the next cigarette
  • I can go wherever I want now and enjoy life
  • I go out socially and don't think it would be lovely to have one\' anymore
  • My family and friends are so proud

How to make sure you stay off them for good

  • Count the money you have saved with the smoking cost calculator in the quitplan.
  • Make sure you don't let yourself get back into high risk situations where you might be tempted.
  • Don't let your guard down when others are smoking, remember one puff and I'm back.
  • Congratulate yourself on quitting smoking.
  • Re-visit your plan, remember why you gave up.
  • Think of how much better you feel now you are not smoking, make a list of the benefits.

I didn't manage it this time

You have returned to smoking every day. If you have one or two puffs of a cigarette this is called a slip.

Reasons you may return to smoking:

  • You didn't plan well for high risk situations
  • You don't have alternatives to smoking
  • You lack the coping skills to deal with stress, negative emotions, cravings - read about coping with withdrawals
  • You haven't enough support at home or from your family
  • Unexpected life events - good or bad news

Things you might be thinking or feeling

  • I tried and I couldn't do it
  • I know I want to quit now, this was just a setback
  • It was a social event and it seemed like everyone was smoking
  • I'm so guilty that I gave in
  • I wasn't even craving, just bored
  • The cravings never went away
  • It was that difficult, I just let my guard down
  • I didn't give my full commitment, now I'm ready
  • I didn't realise that I was addicted until I tried to quit.

Don't give-up on giving-up

  • Think about what might have gone wrong and try something different 
  • If you have a quit plan look at it again and figure out where you might have gone wrong
  • A one-to-one session with a HSE smoking cessation advisor is free and can help you figure out your best way to give up for good. 

Remember this stage is normal. Successfully quitting smoking can take a few attempts.