Skip to main content

What Are the Stages of Change When Quitting Smoking?

Learn about the stages of change when quitting smoking from addictions counselor Adam Steiner in this Howcast video.


The Stages Of Change Model from change model was a study that was done by two scientist named, DiClemente and Prochaska. They were asked to do a study to see how is it that people are able to quit smoking and quit smoking for good. What are the stages they need to go through? What are the things that they might be going through while they're making the change? I like this model, it's helpful and I've used it in all my groups.

The first stage is Precontemplation. Precontemplation, you're not even watching this video. Precontemplation is the stage you're in when people are saying, "Did you ever think about smoking?" and you go, "Get lost, get out of here." That's Precontemplation, you're not even seeing it as something that needs to be changed and you're fine with it.

Contemplation, which is where you might be right now, is where you're thinking about it as something that needs to be changed. Your smoking addiction I'm talking about. In my groups I bring you to Contemplation into a place call, Preparation Determination which is where you actually prepare to quit smoking. You pick a quit date, you decide what you're going to use in our NRT-wise or a medication to help support your quit, and you also might start to pick out a support group.

And then you go from Precontemplation Determination into Action. In Action you actually quit and you put on the patch or you put the gum in your mouth or take Depropeon, or the Chantix, whatever it is, and you get into your quit.

The next stage after Action is Maintenance. In Maintenance, is where you start to do things differently. Going to different stores, not picking up the phone when you know it somebody that calling that you don't want to talk to them that make you want to smoke. Maybe you start going through some therapy. Maybe you start going for walks. Maybe join a gym. You start eating differently, you start eating healthier. You start caring about yourself more, you start getting more sleep. That's all in Maintenance. Maintenance goes on for a long time until you come to a comfortable place in my opinion.

The next stage on the wheel is called, Relapse. It doesn't have to happen. Relapse means you're moving back towards old behaviors as opposed to creating new behaviors which is what Maintenance is all about.

Those are the Stages Of Change. Most people will try to quit smoking over and over again without putting themselves though the Stages Of Change. They find it very difficult because decide to just quit smoking without preparing, without taking any of the actions that are necessary in order to make this major life change. So I think it's a great model. Since that models was written it's been used for many, many, many things and you too can use it for any change you want to make in your life.

Popular Categories