“If, at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again” is especially apt when it comes to kicking the tobacco habit. Your life is at stake, after all, not to mention the lives of friends and loved ones exposed to secondhand smoke. Plus, smoking is the leading cause of erectile dysfunction, so, well, that’s all that really needs to be said about that, right?
But before you explore all the tips and tools out there to help you quit smoking, it’s important to make sure you’re ready to do so. After all, trying and failing can be demoralizing, which can delay or deter future efforts.
How do you know you’re ready to quit? If these five signs sound familiar, it’s definitely time to butt out:
1. You have at least three good reasons to quit
Ask yourself: “Why do I want to quit?” There are so many valid answers—better health, a longer life, the concern and welfare of friends and loved ones, saving money, everything to do with erectile dysfunction, the list goes on—and acknowledging these high stakes will motivate you.
2. You believe quitting is more beneficial than smoking
You won’t be able to kick the habit until you acknowledge how much better life will be without cigarettes. Jot down the pros and cons of smoking, and if the cons outweigh the pros, you’re good to go.
3. You’ve come to terms with the risks
It can be hard to take health risks seriously if you’re not feeling adverse effects. In fact, your health and physical performance are almost certainly suffering. (Find out where your overall health stands with the Men’s Health Check tool.) That’s why cigarette packs are covered with grotesque images of blackened teeth, cancerous lungs, and the like.
You may not have cancer or lung disease now, but the chances of being afflicted in the future skyrocket if you smoke. Another way to face reality is to sit through first-person video accounts of the physical devastation caused by smoking or engage with friends or family members battling a tobacco-related affliction.
4. You’re an experienced quitter
Very few smokers kick the habit on their first try. But aborted attempts shouldn’t be seen as failures. Au contraire, mon frère: you’ve already had a taste of the cigarette cravings you must overcome—and as we all know, a little experience goes a long way.
5. You already have a support system
Your family and friends probably want you to quit. Let them know how serious you are, and there’s a good chance they’ll be willing to do whatever it takes to help you get there. Grab a lit butt from your lips? Sure. Throw that poorly hidden pack in the trash? Absolutely! Offer distractions when the cravings kick in? Bring on that tennis match, ski day or jam session! Allowing them to step in will take some of the burdens off your shoulders and deliver the most important message there is: you’re not alone.
You know you’re ready, so now what? Each province or territory where you live has its own quit smoking program, so find your link below for free resources and tools to help you quit smoking.
- Alberta: AlbertaQuits
- British Columbia: QuitNow
- Manitoba: Smokers’ Helpline
- New Brunswick: NB Anti-Tobacco Coalition
- Newfoundland and Labrador: Smokers’ Helpline
- Northwest Territories: NWT Quitline
- Nova Scotia: Tobacco Free Nova Scotia
- Nunavut: Nunavut Quits
- Ontario: Smokers’ Helpline
- Prince Edward Island: Quit Smoking
- Quebec: Tobacco-Free Quebec
- Saskatchewan: Smokers’ Helpline
- Yukon: Quitpath
Feel free to help others by sharing your struggles in the comments below.