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Know Before You Go: Preparing For Your Doctor Visit
By the Quitter's Circle Staff
December 15, 2014

Know Before You Go: Preparing For Your Doctor Visit

So you’ve decided to quit smoking. It’s time to get the wheels in motion and really start moving toward your quit date. What’s one of the first stops on your road to smokefree success? Just as you should do for any big decision concerning your health, it’s time to go see your healthcare provider.

Support from a healthcare provider, which includes medication and counseling, can double your chances of quitting successfully. This means that talking to your doctor about quitting should be considered an early milestone in your quit journey, and celebrated accordingly! It shows you’re serious about your commitment to quit.

Your healthcare provider can be a valuable resource as you begin and maintain your smokefree lifestyle. Your healthcare provider has the expertise to discuss options for quitting smoking and help you find a plan that is right for you. With this in mind, here are a few ways that you can prepare before your appointment, to help you get the most out of working together.

Actually Confirm an Appointment

Don’t just say you’re going to go see your doctor and then push it off to a later date. Make sure an appointment is on your calendar and that there’s little chance of needing to cancel or re-schedule. Either make an appointment specifically to discuss your plan to quit smoking, or tack it on to the end of a routine check-up. Don’t let a busy day in the office or bad weather outside become an excuse for not going. This is a priority!

Know Your Smoking Patterns

In the week or two leading up to visiting your healthcare provider, keep track of how many cigarettes you smoke per day. What are your social and environmental triggers for smoking? Note the time of day, how strong your urges are, how you’re feeling before taking a smoke break, and any other patterns. Pay careful attention and be honest in this process. The more detail you can give, the better your healthcare provider can help you build a quit plan that’s right for you.

Record Your Smoking History

Spend some time thinking about and writing down why you started smoking and your previous quit attempts. Note the different methods you’ve used to try to to quit smoking, when you tried them, and how long you were able to stay smokefree. Can you think of particularly stressful times in your life when you smoked more than usual? Again, the more information you can provide, the more your healthcare provider can help you. Don’t get down on yourself – these previous quit attempts are stepping stones on your way to quitting smoking for good!

Familiarize Yourself with Medication Options

Your healthcare provider will be able to walk you through various medication options to help you quit smoking, from over-the-counter to prescription medication, but it’s good to have a base knowledge heading into your appointment. This will mean less time spent learning about the different methods, and more time discussing what method may be right for you. Educating yourself as much as possible is key – this is a big life change and you want to go in feeling knowledgeable and prepared.

Talk to Your Friends and Family

Find out what those close to you used during their quit attempts. Of course, what worked for others won’t necessarily be right for you, but having anecdotes about different methods is good food for thought. You may be more likely to have similar diets, environments and schedules as your friends, which could serve as an example. Your friends and family may also be able to give you insight into your day-to-day behaviors and routines that you might not have realized on your own, which could help when picking a quit plan you’re most likely to adhere to.

Go in Prepared and with Questions

Go into your appointment equipped with your research. Be prepared with a list of questions to ask your healthcare provider, whether it is clarification around potential risks or how strictly you should adhere to a certain schedule. Utilize your time well and make sure to get all of your questions answered. Take the literature they offer you; you may not be able to remember the names of all the different methods when you go home to search them later.

Stay Committed!

It may take time to find the quit plan that works for you; whatever your plan is, stay committed to the journey of becoming a non-smoker.


See additional quit smoking resources from our partner American Lung Association.