By J.R. Becraft, MPH and Michelle Jenck, M.Ed.

Want to find freedom from nicotine and tobacco products?  For many it’s a tough challenge.  The basics of behavior change are similar for most people.  It helps to begin by identifying where we are in the “Stages of Change” to determine what our next steps might be.

Pre-Contemplation:  Are we simply not ready to quit, “pre-contemplating” the choice? Are we unaware that we need to change behaviors to protect those around us and live a longer and higher quality life?

Contemplation: Are we beginning to recognize that we want or need to make a major change in our life? Are we contemplating the pros and cons of quitting? Are we exploring why we want to quit along with the barriers that make it hard to take action?

Preparation: Are we really ready to change? Are we mapping out the positive small steps toward the new desired behavior? Do we see ourselves being successful in making that change? Have we set a date? Have we identified resources within and outside of ourselves? Do we have a plan for dealing with setbacks including treating ourselves with the same compassion we would offer to a friend?

Action: Are we taking specific actions right now? Did we quit, even if only for a little while? Are we redesigning our routine and our environment to avoid using tobacco?  Have we begun to adopt new habits to help reduce stress and avoid triggers?

Maintenance: Once we have made changes, what are we doing to assure we stick to them? Can we succeed step by step—according to a simple, careful plan? Will we seek the resources within and without to succeed long-term?  Are we able to view setbacks as just that and get right back on track?

Success: Are we stable in our new behaviors? Have our new habits become automatic and have our old ones fallen away?

For resources and information:

  • Call 1 800 QUIT NOW
  • Insurance is required to cover tobacco cessation support. Your doctor or mental health provider and pharmacist all have tools and counsel to help.
  • Friends and family can provide vital encouragement.
  • Across Oregon and in Tillamook County with its Year of Wellness, communities are becoming places where the healthy choices are the easy choices. Tobacco-free zones will help you on the path to freedom.
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