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Why Should I Quit Smoking?

To quit smoking, you need to understand what is motivating you to want to quit. Are you doing it for yourself or someone else? If you’re doing it for someone else, you’re less likely to be successful in your attempt to quit. In fact, you need to quit for yourself — to help improve your health, decrease the feelings of being stigmatized for smoking, and to decrease the likelihood of cancer or future lung disease.

Why do you want to quit?

1. Decide for sure that you want to quit.

Make a promise to yourself that you’ll do it. It’s okay to have mixed feelings, but you shouldn’t let that stop you. There will be times every day that you don’t feel like quitting. You will have to stick with it anyway.

2. Find reasons to quit that are important to you.

Think of all the possible reasons to quit, including those that may not be directly health-related. While health-related reasons are the most powerful (lung and associated cancers strike smokers at greater frequency and earlier than in non-smokers), other reasons may also help motivate you:

  • I will feel healthier right away. I will have more energy and better focus. My senses of smell and taste will be better. I will have whiter teeth and fresher breath. I will cough less and breathe better.
  • I will be healthier the rest of my life. I will lower my risk for cancer, heart attacks, strokes, early death, cataracts, and skin wrinkling.
  • I will make my partner, friends, family, kids, grandchildren, and co-workers proud of me.
  • I will be proud of myself. I will feel more in control of my life. I will be a better role model for others.
  • I will no longer expose others to my second-hand smoke.
  • I will have a healthier baby. (If you’re pregnant)
  • I will have more money to spend.
  • I won’t have to worry: “When will I get to smoke next?” or “What do I do when I’m in a smoke-free place?”
  • I will have more time for myself, instead of taking cigarette breaks, rushing out to buy a pack, or searching for a light
  • I will be able to walk up stairs without being short of breath or coughing as much
  • I will set a better example for my children

3. Write down all the reasons why you want to quit.

List ways to fight the urge to smoke, too. (You will find tips for coping later in this guide.) Keep your list where you’ll see it often. Good places are:

  • Where you keep your cigarettes
  • In your wallet or purse
  • In the kitchen
  • In your car

When you reach for a cigarette you’ll find your list. It will remind you why you want to stop.

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Why Should I Quit Smoking?

Psych Central Staff

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APA Reference
Psych Central. (2019). Why Should I Quit Smoking?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 5, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 25 Sep 2019 (Originally: 17 May 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 25 Sep 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.