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Quit Plan

Your road to success is to have a good plan about how you will get there.

The Tobacco Free Nova Scotia program offers free, confidential and non-judgemental support about how you can to quit smoking or cut back. A counsellor will work with you to help you develop your own quit plan. You are more likely to succeed when you have support.

Pick your quit day

Know your reasons

Plan for smoking triggers

Remove smoking reminders

Plan for cravings

Reach out

The 5-day count down

Reward yourself

Pick Your Quit Day

Pick a day to stop smoking. Here’s how to pick the best one for you:

  1. Pick a day in the next two weeks.

Sooner is better. You need time to prepare, but not so much time that you change your mind.

Write the day down in a place where you’ll see it every day. Promise yourself that you’re going to stop smoking on that day.

  1. Pick a day that doesn’t have a lot of triggers.

Pick a day when you’ll be in control of what happens during that day as much as possible. Don’t pick a day when you know you’ll be under stress or if there is a special celebration and you might be tempted to smoke.

  1. Pick a day when you have the opportunity to make plans to distract yourself.

Quitting on a day when you are off work or school could be best because you can plan lots of things to do that will take your mind off smoking.

  1. For women, be mindful of your cycle.

If you’re a woman who gets pre-menstrual syndrome or PMS (feel moody, irritable, emotional before your period), don’t pick a quit day during that time. These symptoms can be triggers for wanting to smoke.

Know Your Reasons

Everyone has their own good reasons for wanting to quit. Maybe you want to be healthier. Maybe you want to save money or have a smoke-free home for you and your family.

What are your reasons?

Write down why you want to quit. Put this list in a place where you’ll see it.  Review your reasons a lot, especially when you feel the urge to smoke. This will help to keep you motivated and allow you to update your list when new reasons come up.

Plan for Smoking Triggers

Smoking is closely tied to many of your daily routines, habits and emotions. When you do certain things, or feel a certain way, you will probably want to smoke. This is called a smoking “trigger”.

Here’s how to deal with triggers.

  1. Make a list of the things that you do when you are smoking.


  • I smoke when I drink coffee
  • I smoke when I am out with my friend Mike
  1. Make a list of the things that make you want to smoke.


  • I smoke when I am stressed.
  • I smoke when I have work to do.
  1. Next to each thing on your list, write down something you can do to avoid smoking, or to do instead of smoking.


  1. I smoke when I drink coffee.
  • I’ll drink orange juice first when I wake up in the morning.
  • I’ll only drink coffee in non-smoking public places.
  1. I smoke when I am out with my friend Mike
  • I’ll ask Mike to not smoke with me for a while.
  • I won’t go out with Mike for the first month (and tell him why).
  1.  I smoke when I am stressed.
  • I’ll go for a walk when I feel stressed.
  • I’ll call my friend when I feel stressed.


  1. Keep your plan on how to deal with triggers in a special place. Look at it when you feel a smoking trigger. Add to the list or change it as you go along.
  2. Call your Tobacco Free Nova Scotia counsellor to help you get through the trigger.

Remove Smoking Reminders

Before your quit day, remove the things around you that make you think of smoking. This will help you stay focused.

Here are some ideas:

  • Throw out or give away cigarettes, matches, lighters and ashtrays.
  • Don’t save one pack of cigarettes “just in case.”
  • Clean your house, car and/or office. The smell of tobacco is a trigger and it can cause a cigarette craving.
  • Wash your clothes, carpets, curtains and other fabrics that hold the smell of smoke. Get ready to make a fresh start.

Plan for Cravings

Nicotine is the addictive chemical in cigarettes that makes it so hard to quit. When you quit, your body will go through nicotine withdrawal.

Going through withdrawal can be unpleasant. There are products you can use that reduce nicotine cravings. They let you focus on quitting. These include:

You are most likely to succeed when you use quit aids (example: the nicotine patch) combined with counselling or support than if you use either of these on their own.

If you will use NRTs or medications, make sure you have them before your quit date. Some medications need to be started 7-10 days before your quit date.

Contact Tobacco Free Nova Scotia to learn how we can help.

Reach Out

Quitting is easier when you have support from the important people in your life. This could be your spouse, your children, your parents or your friends or co-workers.

Tell the people in your life:

  • that you want to quit
  • your quit day
  • how they can help.

The people who care for you will want to help. Let them know how (for example, by not smoking around you or offering you cigarettes).

The Tobacco Free Nova Scotia offers free, confidential and non-judgemental support about how you can to quit smoking or cut back. A caring counsellor can work with you, at your pace, to help you develop and follow your plan.

Contact Tobacco Free Nova Scotia to learn how we can help.

Once you have your support people in place, make sure you have their contact information available when you need them.

The 5-Day Quit Smoking Countdown

Good planning is the key to success.

Use this guide to plan the days leading up to your quit day. It will help you get mentally and physically ready.

Day 5 (or earlier)

  1. Make a list of the reasons why you are quitting.
  2. Tell your friends and family that you are planning to quit. Ask for their support.
  3. Think about if you want to use nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) or medications to help you quit.
  4. Set a date to stop buying tobacco products.

Day 4

  1. Pay attention to when and why you are smoking.
  2. Think about your smoking habits and routines. How will you change these?
  3. What can you hold in your hand other than a cigarette? Keeping your hands busy will be important.

Day 3

  1. Think about (and write down) what you will do with the money you’ll save when you stop buying tobacco
  2. Who will you call when you need support? Tell them how they can help.

Day 2

  1. Think again about your smoking habits and routines. Plan new ones that are fun (and smoke-free).

Day 1

  1. Throw (or give) away lighters and ashtrays.
  2. Wash your clothes and other fabrics that hold smoke smells.
  3. Throw away your remaining tobacco and matches. Don’t keep an emergency pack, or even one cigarette, “just in case”.

Ready to make a fresh start? Ready to feel amazing?

Reward Yourself

Quitting smoking happens one minute, one hour, and one day at a time.

Before your quit day, set goals that you want to reach. These are also called “milestones.”

Your milestones could be getting through one hour, one day and one week of not smoking. Maybe your milestone is not to smoke when you wake up.

Beside each milestone, write down how you will reward yourself – give yourself a special treat.

Quitting smoking is hard. Be proud of yourself.