Tracking your smoking 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 tracking your smoking 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
- The level or degree of your urge to smoke and your feelings
about not smoking. Describe the feelings and thoughts you have while
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 tracker.
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).
Tracking doesn't have to be difficult or complex. Here's a sample
of what a smoking tracker might look like for someone who is preparing to
|Cigarette||Time||Place or Situation||Level of need (1–5)|
|1||7:45||In car, on way to work||4|
|2||10:15||Outside work, 1st coffee break||2|
|3|| || || |
|4|| || || |
If you prefer to track electronically, try a free stop-smoking app, such as the National Cancer Institute's QuitPal. These apps allow you to track your progress and share your successes on social-networking sites. They also let your friends and family record inspiring video messages that you can play when you are having a hard time with cravings or stress.