What does this tool help you learn?

This interactive tool measures your readiness to quit smoking. The tool
uses the stages-of-change approach, which is based on research about how people
typically make behavior changes. The approach suggests that to make positive
change, most people go through distinct stages from not thinking about quitting
to actually quitting. Based on your answers, this tool will identify the stage
you are in and help you think about what to do next.

Reproduced with permission from “A ‘Stages of Change’ Approach to Helping Patients Change Behavior,” March 1, 2000, American Family Physician. Copyright © 2000 American Academy of Family Physicians. All Rights Reserved.

What does your score mean?

Your score will appear as
one of the following:

  • Not ready. You are not
    considering quitting for a variety of reasons. You may think that the benefits of smoking
    outweigh its risks or that you cannot stop smoking.
  • Thinking about it. You may have mixed feelings about quitting.
    In this stage you acknowledge that smoking is a problem, but you are not ready
    or not sure you want to quit. For example, you may want to quit but believe
    that you cannot quit because of past failures.
  • Preparing. You are motivated to quit smoking and are making
    small steps toward that goal. In this stage, it is important that you gather
    information about how to quit so that you understand what you must do to make
    this major lifestyle change.
  • In the process.
    This is the stage where you are actively taking steps to quit smoking. You will
    need willpower to prevent starting smoking again. Congratulate yourself for
    taking this step.
  • Have quit. To keep
    your current nonsmoker status, you must continue to successfully avoid
    temptation. This means anticipating situations in which you might slip up and
    avoiding those situations. It may take years before the temptation to smoke
    completely leaves and this change is truly established.
  • Have relapsed. If you start to smoke again, don’t be
    discouraged. It doesn’t mean you can’t quit for good. For most people, it
    usually takes several tries at quitting before they finally quit. Think of
    quitting smoking as a process. Learn from this experience at trying, and you
    will be one step ahead.

What’s next?

Quitting smoking, like most major
lifestyle changes, is a process. Understanding where you fall in this
process-your current stage of change-will help you and your doctor find the
right strategy. The best way to stop smoking is to get help and to follow a plan.
You can increase your chances of
quitting by using medicines, such bupropion (Zyban) or varenicline (Chantix). Or you can use nicotine replacement therapy (gum, lozenges,
patches, nasal sprays, or inhalers). Counseling (by phone, group, or one-on-one) can also help. And
using both medicines and counseling works even better.

For more information, see the topic
Quitting Smoking.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Lisa S. Weinstock, MD – Psychiatry

Current as ofMarch 20, 2017