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Smoking Journal

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Topic Overview

A smoking journal can be helpful both while you prepare to quit and after you quit. Use it to record information about your smoking behavior, such as:

  • Your list of reasons to quit.
  • Your smoking triggers, which are those times, places, and situations when you reach for a cigarette.
  • Contact information for your support people.

Start your journal before your quit date, if possible. Make entries for at least 7 days (one full week). Record:

  • The time, place, and situation (for example, after a meal or during a coffee break) for each cigarette you smoke.
  • The level or degree of your urge to smoke and your feelings about not smoking. Describe the feelings and thoughts you have while smoking.

Take a look at your weeks' worth of notes, and identify when or where you will be most likely to relapse. Think about whether you can avoid these situations. If you cannot avoid them, make a plan of action that lists what you will do instead of smoking when you find yourself in those situations. Add this action plan to your journal.

After your quit date, record:

  • Each urge or craving for a cigarette and the time, place, and situation.
  • The level or degree of your urge to smoke and your feelings about not smoking.
  • Anything you do to help you get through the urge (for example, changing activities, breathing as though you are smoking, chewing on a straw).

The journal doesn't have to be difficult or complex. Here's a sample of what a smoking journal might look like for someone who is preparing to quit:

CigaretteTimePlace or SituationLevel of need (1–5)
17:45In car, on way to work4
210:15Outside office, 1st coffee break2
3   
4   
1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 06, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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