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Ready to Quit Using Tobacco?

Are you thinking about quitting smoking or quitting using tobacco products, but are not sure if this is the right time or decision for YOU to make?

This is can be normal. Many smokers want to quit but don’t know how, have many fears or think that it is too late, however, it is never too late to quit.1 All smokers, no matter how heavy they smoke, will notice significant benefits after quitting smoking. Not only are these benefits health-related but they can also benefit individuals in other ways such as time and money.2 3

If you are thinking about quitting, it can be helpful to think about what you like about smoking, what you don’t like, and what smoking means to you. When you have done this, you can decide whether you are ready to quit.

  • Make a Plan
    If you have decided you are ready to quit smoking, planning ahead can be an important step.
  • Set a Quit Date
    Once you’ve decided to quit, you’re ready to pick a quit date.
  • Develop a Support System
    Telling your family, friends and co-workers gives you another reason to stay focused.
  • Put Your Plan Into Action
    Remember, quitting is not an event, it’s a process.

Make a Plan

  • Access resources that can help you prepare to quit and create a quit plan such as the Lung Health Foundation's Journey to Quit Workbook (PDF 2.3MB)3
  • Decide how you want to quit - there are many ways to quit tobacco. However, there is no right way for everyone.1 3 4 A lot depends on what you are comfortable with and your past quit attempts.
    • “Cold Turkey” refers to when you quit completely without using any nicotine replacement therapy or medication.3
    • “Cut Back / Reduce” involves cutting back or reducing the amount of tobacco that you use per day. Keeping track of when you use tobacco, what you were doing, and how you are feeling can help you to cut back.1 3
    • Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)” (patch, lozenge, gum, spray, or inhaler) can help to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings by replacing nicotine that you would normally get from using tobacco products. These are available over the counter without a prescription at most drug stores or pharmacies.3 5
    • Champix® or Zyban® are medications that can be prescribed by a doctor or pharmacist. Although they do not contain any nicotine, these medications can be effective in helping people quit smoking.3 5 In Ontario, these medications are free to anyone who is on Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program, or for young adults 18-24 years of age through OHIP Plus. For others, these medications may be covered under your drug plan.3

Set a Quit Date

  • Try quitting on a Monday rather than a random day; this could increase your chances of quitting.
  • Choose a time when you are not too stressed.1 3
  • Think about what the next week is going to look like, is this something that you can commit to?3
  • Write your quit date down; it might be helpful to circle it on a calendar or set a reminder in your phone.1 3 4

Develop a Support System

Whatever way you decide to quit, having support is very important.

  • • Make sure that your supporters are aware that you are planning to quit. This could include family, friends, co-workers or even health professionals. Identify any negative influences or people who do not want you to quit.1 3 4 5
  • Telehealth is a great support for quitting smoking. They have services available by phone from 10:00am to 10:00pm.
  • Smoker’s Helpline is another great support for quitting smoking. They have an online quit program that includes a personalized quit plan, quit calculator, and motivating emails, as well as text message support, and downloadable quit resources.

Put Your Plan Into Action

Be sure to use resources that work for you and the goals you are trying to achieve. Remember, quitting is not an event, it’s a process. It takes time, patience, and practice.1 3 4 5

Date of creation: January 8, 2013
Last modified on: April 23, 2020


1Health Canada. (2012). On the road to QUITTING: Guide to becoming a non-smoker. Retrieved from
2Government of Canada. (2016). Benefits of Quitting. Retrieved from
3Lung Health Foundation. (2020). Journey to Quit: A Workbook to Help You Quit Smoking. Retrieved from
4American Cancer Society. (2016). Deciding to Quit Smoking and Making a Plan. Retrieved from
5Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. (2019). My Change Plan: Workbook for making Healthy Changes. Toronto, ON: Centre for Addition and Mental Health. Retrieved from