How to quit smoking to enhance your career

No smoking sign cartoon

Think you have trouble quitting smoking? An old segment on the Dr Phil Show featured a man who had a heart attack but checked-out of the hospital so he could smoke a cigarette! If you’re a job hunter or careerist who can’t stop smoking for the sake of your health, then motivate yourself to stop for the sake of your career.

It’s nobody’s business if you smoke unless you’re a candidate for a senior-level position. Then you better think about what happens after you quit smoking, or your career plans could go up in smoke.

It’s no secret that corporations make lots of background checks before offering positions to higher-level job hunters. Potential employers check you out carefully because a company’s life and disability insurance premiums skyrocket for smokers. The cost of key person insurance can be up to 100% or more for the executive who smokes. That’s why candidates for senior positions are often required to reveal how much they smoke and drink. Some organizations won’t hire a smoker.

So why do you continue to puff away despite a New Year’s resolution to quit? Experts say nicotine is the strongest of all addictions; stronger than alcohol, stronger than cocaine. My experience proves this out. It was tougher for me to stop smoking than it was to stop drinking.

How do you motivate yourself to stop smoking?

Alcoholics in recovery stop drinking “one day at a time.” Many former smokers have used the same method to quit. So when it comes to how to stop smoking, don’t say you’ll quit forever. Tell yourself you’ll quit smoking…just for today. When you awaken tomorrow, it’s today. And you’ll keep affirming that you won’t smoke just for today. You can also tell yourself that while it’s possible you’ll  smoke tomorrow, there will be no smoking today.

If you cannot hack not smoking just for today, then change your attitude from stopping cold turkey to postponing your next smoke for ten minutes. Then go without a cigarette for 20 minutes the next time, working up to longer periods between smoking. That’s the method I used many years ago when I wasn’t ready to stop for a full day. Before I knew it, I had stopped smoking one day at a time.

What about smoking before an interview?

When you’re a job candidate who stil puffs away, avoid lighting up before interviewing or you’ll smell like a cigarette. Your last smoke can be an hour beforehand. Then chew gum or pop a mint ten minutes before meeting and greeting a prospective employer.

I asked you earlier to consider what happens to your career when you quit smoking. The answer for job hunters and senior level employees is clear. When you quit smoking, chances of climbing up the corporate ladder are a heck of a lot easier. You’ll fall off the corporate ladder if you continue to smoke.

Feel free to share your experiences with stopping smoking or trying to stop by commenting below.

You’ll find oodles of job finding tips that can be read in a minute each, in my book “Your One-Minute Job Finding Coach.” Also, your comments are always welcome on this blog and on

Copyright ©2016 by Ransom (Randy) Place

About the Author

RANDY PLACE IS A JOB-FINDING and executive coach, writer on career topics, broadcaster, and host of For twenty-three years, he helped thousands of employees who had been let go from JPMorgan Chase find jobs. And he coached executives at CBS Television, Pitney Bowes, and major outplacement firms in New York on job-finding techniques, communications skills, and selling strategies. An accomplished seminar leader and speaker, Randy has designed and presented workshops on interviewing, telephoning techniques, job-search writing, and sales training nationwide. Randy's groundbreaking nationally syndicated radio series, Your Career Service, has been heard on over two hundred radio stations across the United States. And his articles on career topics have appeared in the Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly. A former broadcast journalist in New York, he has also been a commercial spokesperson for an array of national and regional advertisers. In addition, Randy was a sales executive at NBC Radio and the New York City sales manager for syndication at Wolper Productions. He holds a Bachelor's in Sociology and Broadcasting from Syracuse University, and a Master's in Journalism from New York University.