When is the best time to quit?

The last cigaretteHow about right now? Put out that cigarette and throw away the rest of the carton.

What's holding you back? What have you got to lose by quitting smoking, besides a nasty, annoying, unhealthy and expensive habit?

How many times have you heard your friends, relatives or coworkers say that they want to quit smoking? What seems to be stopping them, you think to yourself, or even ask them out loud. Many times the answer is "It's not a good time right now," or "I'm under too much stress." This response is all too common amongst addicted smokers.

Quitting smoking is not an easy task. Just ask the hundreds-of-thousands of smokers that have been unsuccessful at their repeated attempts to kick their habit. Cigarette manufacturers are aware their products are addictive and that 75 to 80 percent of adult smokers want to quit. This does not discourage them, though, because the success rate for quitting is so low. But many smokers are convinced their attempts to quit smoking have been thwarted by the particular times they chose to stop.

A friend of mine has been threatening to quit smoking for the past year (but he was making the same threats years before I had the pleasure of making his acquaintance). Time and again, I ask, "What's stopping you?" The excuses are endless. "I just moved and I need to get settled in," or, "School starts up in a week and I would be a mess." Of course, at the end of the semester, there are exams to take and papers to finish, so that's not a good time either. "Why not quit over the holidays," I chide (encouragingly, of course). "Vacation is for relaxation, not for stressing.".

Finish, once and for allIt seems people are always waiting for the right time to quit smoking. But when is "the right time?" When quitting will be easier? When, pray tell, will that day come around?

Quitting is hard work, and hard work comes with its share of stress. Nobody ever said that quitting would be easy, and it won't be. But the best way--the only way--to quit smoking is to stop talking about quitting and do it. Quit!

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  • Tobacco.org's online "Health Information Page."
  • Philly.com, the executive officer of Vector Tobacco talks about addiction. Knox, Andrea. "A swirl of debate over new cigarette." Sunday, April 15, 2001.
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