Quitting a habit or addiction typically involves several stages, as individuals work towards overcoming the behaviour. The same goes for smoking. While the specific stages may vary depending on the source or model used, there is a common framework, which is known as the ‘stages of change’ model.
It’s important to note, there’s no right or wrong way to quit. Only a right and wrong way for you. If you don’t go through some of these stages, or you feel ready to skip ahead, that’s totally fine. Your doctor can help tailor a quitting plan that fits your goals and circumstances.
Stage 1: Precontemplation
At this stage, individuals may not recognise or acknowledge the negative impact of smoking on their health and well-being. They may not be considering quitting and might be resistant to suggestions or concerns from others. Sound familiar? That’s okay. We all have to start somewhere.
Stage 2: Contemplation
In this stage, individuals become aware of the harmful effects of smoking and start considering the idea of quitting. They may reflect on the health risks, financial costs, and other personal motivations to quit smoking. This is where you get those first misgivings, or tinglings of regret. Those are good feelings! It’s your body (and your wallet) letting you know something’s not right.
Stage 3: Preparation
During the preparation stage, individuals actively plan to quit smoking. They may set a quit date, gather information about cessation methods and resources, or make necessary arrangements to create a supportive environment for quitting. That last one is especially useful. At this stage, it helps to get friends and family involved in your quitting journey. Your chances of success are much higher with a good support network.
Stage 4: Action
Finally, the action stage. This is when you actually start trying to quit. It often includes quitting abruptly (cold turkey) or gradually reducing the number of cigarettes smoked. Individuals can seek support from healthcare professionals, use nicotine replacement therapies, medications, or join smoking cessation programs. That’s where myduke® comes in.
Stage 5: Maintenance
Unfortunately, quitting is an ongoing process. That’s why they call it quitting. Once individuals have successfully quit smoking, they enter the maintenance stage. The focus shifts towards staying smoke-free and preventing relapse. This stage typically lasts for several months to years. The trick is reinforcing healthy behaviours: exercise, diet, social connection and cessation aids (if you feel like relapsing).
Stage 6: Termination
The termination stage signifies the point at which the individual no longer has the desire or temptation to smoke. They have successfully integrated a smoke-free lifestyle into their daily routine, and the risk of relapse is significantly reduced. You might go weeks or months at a time without even thinking of a cigarette, and you’re able to be around smokers without feeling the need to smoke yourself.
It's important to note that quitting smoking can be challenging, and individuals may experience withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and occasional setbacks. Relapses are common, but they don't necessarily mean failure. The key is to keep trying. Over and over again, if necessary. Many people require multiple attempts before successfully quitting smoking, so perseverance and ongoing support are crucial for long-term success.