Smoking Journal

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Smoking Journal

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A smoking journal can be helpful both while you prepare to quit and after you quit. Use it for as long as it is helpful. Use it to record information about your smoking behaviour and anything else that will be useful to you, such as the names and phone numbers of your support people or a list of your reasons to quit.

Start your journal before your quit date, if possible. Make entries for at least 3 days, including 2 weekdays and 1 weekend day. Record:

  • The time, place, and situation (for example, after a meal or during a coffee break) for each cigarette you smoke.
  • The level or degree of your urge to smoke and your feelings about not smoking. Describe the feelings and thoughts you have while smoking.

Take a look at the 3 days' worth of notes, and try to decide when it will be hardest for you not to smoke. Think about whether you can avoid these situations. If you cannot avoid them, make a plan of action that lists what you will do instead of smoking when you find yourself in those situations. Add this action plan to your journal.

After your quit date, record:

  • Each urge or craving for a cigarette and the time, place, and situation.
  • The level or degree of your urge to smoke and your feelings about not smoking.
  • Anything you do to help you get through the urge (for example, changing activities, breathing as though you are smoking, chewing on a straw).

The journal doesn't have to be difficult or complex. Here's a sample of what a smoking journal might look like for someone who is preparing to quit:

Cigarette Time Place or Situation Level of need (1–5)
1 7:45 In car, on way to work 4
2 10:15 Outside office, 1st coffee break 2

Related Information


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer John Hughes, MD - Psychiatry
Specialist Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Last Revised August 31, 2009

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