The decision to quit smoking is one that only you can make. Others may want you to quit, but the real commitment must come from you. Researchers have looked into how this happens.

The Health Belief Model says that you will be more likely to stop smoking if you:

  • believe that you could get a smoking-related disease and this worries you
  • believe that you can make an honest attempt at quitting smoking
  • believe that the benefits of quitting outweigh the benefits of continuing to smoke
  • know of someone who has had health problems as a result of their smoking

Do any of these apply to you?

The Stages of Change Model identifies the stages that a person goes through in making a change in behavior. Here are the stages as they apply to quitting smoking:

Pre-contemplation: At this stage, the smoking is not thinking seriously about quitting right now.

Contemplation: The smoker is actively thinking about quitting but is not quite ready to make a serious attempt yet. This person may say, “Yes, I’m ready to quit, but the stress at work is too much, or I don’t want to gain weight, or I’m not sure if I can do it.”

Preparation: Smokers in the preparation stage seriously intend to quit in the next month and often have tried to quit in the past 12 months. They usually have a plan.

Action: This is the first 6 months when the smoker is actively quitting.

Maintenance: This is the period of 6 months to 5 years after quitting when the ex-smoker is
aware of the danger of relapse and takes steps to avoid it.

Where do you fit in this model? If you are thinking about quitting, setting a date and deciding on a plan will move you into the preparation stage, the best place to start.