New Years resolutions: a strategy for smokers: “Don’t quit smoking on New Years day,” says ASH

Monday 31 December 2001

“Don’t try to quit smoking on New Years day – it’s one of the worst days in the year to try it”. That is the advice that anti-tobacco campaigners ASH is giving to smokers wondering whether it would make a good New Years resolution.

Unless smokers are already mentally prepared and have it all planned out, New Years Day is one of the hardest days to quit. ASH is advising smokers that haven’t yet made the necessary preparations to make a resolution and start the process on New Years day, then commit to quit on or before No Smoking Day (13March 2002).

Clive Bates, Director of ASH said:

“Smokers that seriously want to quit should use New Years Day to make the resolution and start the mental preparation, but only take the step of cutting out the cigarettes when they are good and ready to do it.”

“Quitting is like a siege against addiction to nicotine, and you need to build up motivation, find out what will happen, get the best tips, plan some distracting social activities, talk to your doctor about drugs that might help, and make sure family and friends are onside.”

“Most people wake up feeling pretty rough on New Years Day, and then have to face relatives or even more festive fun.

“Unless you’ve really planned for it, trying to quit smoking on New Years Day is like getting out of bed late and trying to nip up the North face of the Eiger in your pyjamas. Why make it harder than it already is?”

ASH suggested the following six-point plan:

  1. On New Years Day make a resolution to quit on or before No Smoking Day (13 March)
  2. Set a quit date and stick to it – for example;
  3. Burns night (25 Jan)
    b. ASH Wednesday and Lent (13 Feb)
    c. Valentine’s Day (14 Feb)
    d. No Smoking Day (13 March)
    e. Any other day that suits you – more than a week away
  4. On New Years Day or shortly after phone one of the helplines and ask for advice on how to quit and to be sent some information
  5. 0800 1690169 NHS Smokers’ Helpline
    b. 0800 002200 Quitline
  6. Discuss options a pharmacist and make an appointment to see the doctor. Ask what advice or support they can offer, and ask about drugs such as nicotine replacement therapy or Zyban, which doctors can now offer on prescription.
  7. Try to find others to join you – especially your partner – and get friends and family involved.
  8. Consult key websites for further information.



Contact: ASH office – 020 7739 5902.