Stopping smoking is not easy. Below are some tips which may help you to quit smoking. At the end of the leaflet there are details of further resources that may help.
Tell everyone that you are giving up smoking. Friends and family often give support and may help you. Smoking by others in the household makes giving up harder. If appropriate, try to get other household members who smoke, or friends who smoke, to stop smoking at the same time. A team effort may be easier than going it alone.
Quit smoking: 10 tips
It's never too late to quit smoking and there are many benefits to be gained no matter what age you are when you give up. Here are some quick tips to help you kick the habit.
Quitting is different for everyone, so find an approach that will work for you. This may be either the cold turkey approach (stopping suddenly and totally) or a more gradual reduction in the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. Set a date to quit and stick to it. Make it sooner rather than later. If you are quitting by yourself, it is recommended that you stop smoking completely on your quit date.
Get as much support as you can from family, friends and work colleagues. Let them know you are planning to quit, and ask smokers not to smoke around you or offer you cigarettes. Quitting with a friend can also be an excellent idea you can share your feelings and encourage each other.
Throw out all cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters and anything else that might remind you of smoking. Wash your clothes and clean your car to remove the smell of smoke.
Nicotine replacement therapy, such as nicotine patches or chewing gum, could be a good idea for those who smoke heavily or who feel they may need the extra help. Some products are available on the PBS. There are also oral prescription medicines, help you quit by reducing withdrawal symptoms and the urge to smoke. Talk to your doctor about what would be best for you.
Plan ahead for situations in which you are likely to be tempted to smoke, such as parties, drinking or going out for coffee. Try to avoid these situations in the early stages of your quitting programme, or try sitting in the non-smoking section at restaurants, drinking your coffee standing up or with the other hand, or keeping something in your hand when you're talking on the phone.
Write down all the reasons that made you decide to quit smoking, and carry them with you in case you need reminding!
Keep the following in mind when you have a craving.
Delay: remember that the worst cravings last for only a few minutes and will become even less frequent the longer you have quit.
Deep breathe: this should help you relax and focus your mind on something else.
Drink water: it is a good idea to drink plenty of fluids to help flush the nicotine and other toxins out of your system.
Do something else: you could go for a walk, to the movies or visit a supportive friend. Try eating an apple or cleaning your teeth when you would normally have a cigarette. You could hold something else, such as a pen or beads, to replace the need to hold a cigarette, or chew some gum or eat or drink a healthy snack to have something other than a cigarette in your mouth.
If you drink a lot of coffee, you may also want to cut down on your coffee intake as you will retain more caffeine when there is no nicotine in your system. Feeling jittery will not help your plan to quit. It may also be best to avoid alcohol as many people find it hard to resist smoking when they drink.
If you find you are losing motivation to quit, remind yourself of the many medical and financial benefits of quitting! For example, did you know that 12 months after quitting, your risk of heart disease is reduced to nearly half that of a smoker's? Remember the results of the my Dr smoking cost calculator to help keep you motivated.
Tips for Quitting Smoking
I recently celebrated my one-year anniversary of quitting smoking. Well, of finally quitting … like most smokers, I had tried to quit many times and failed. But this quit stuck, and I’d like to share the top 10 things that made this quit successful when the others failed.
Commit Thyself Fully. In the quits that failed, I was only half into it. I told myself I wanted to quit, but I always felt in the back of my mind that I’d fail. I didn’t write anything down, I didn’t tell everybody (maybe my wife, but just her). This time, I wrote it down. I wrote down a plan. I blogged about it. I made a vow to my daughter. I told family and friends I was quitting. I went online and joined a quit forum. I had rewards. Many of these will be in the following tips, but the point is that I fully committed, and there was no turning back. I didn’t make it easy for myself to fail.
Make a Plan. You can’t just up and say, “I’m gonna quit today.” You have to prepare yourself. Plan it out. Have a system of rewards, a support system, a person to call if you’re in trouble. Write down what you’ll do when you get an urge. Print it out. Post it up on your wall, at home and at work. If you wait until you get the urge to figure out what you’re going to do, you’ve already lost. You have to be ready when those urges come.
Self-help tips to stop smoking
If you want to stop smoking, you can make small changes to your lifestyle that may help you resist the temptation to light up.
Want to quit?
You might have given up before, but tell yourself that you’re really going to do it this time.
Make a plan to quit smoking
Make a promise, set a date and stick to it. Don’t be put off by a wedding, party or other time when you’d normally smoke.
Change your diet
Is your after-dinner cigarette your favourite? A US study revealed that some foods, including meat, make cigarettes more satisfying. Others, including cheese, fruit and vegetables, make cigarettes taste terrible. So swap your usual steak or burger for a veggie pizza instead.
Change your drink
The same study looked at drinks. Fizzy drinks, alcohol, cola, tea and coffee all make cigarettes taste better. So when you’re out, drink more water and juice. Some people find that simply changing their drink (for example, switching from wine to a vodka and tomato juice), affects their need to reach for a cigarette.
Identify when you crave cigarettes
A craving can last five minutes. Before you give up, make a list of five-minute strategies. For example, you could leave the party for a minute, dance or go to the bar. And think about this: the combination of smoking and drinking heavily raises your risk of mouth cancer by 38 times.
Health benefits of stopping smoking
Smoking’s bad for your health, but exactly how does quitting make life better? Here are 10 ways your health will improve when you stop smoking.
The quitting timeline
After one year your heart attack risk is half that of a smoker.
After 10 years your lung cancer risk is half that of a smoker.
Stopping smoking improves the body’s bloodflow, so improves sensitivity. Men who stop smoking may get better erections. Women may find that their orgasms improve and they become aroused more easily. It’s also been found that non-smokers are three times more apealling to prospective partners than smokers (one of the advantages, perhaps, of smelling fresh).
Find out more tips for having good sex.
Non-smokers find it easier to get pregnant. Quitting smoking improves the lining of the womb and can make men’s sperm more potent. Becoming a non-smoker increases the possibility of conceiving through IVF and reduces the likelihood of having a miscarriage. Most importantly, it improves the chances of giving birth to a healthy baby.
Read more about how to protect your fertility.
Younger looking skin
Stopping smoking has been found to slow facial ageing and delay the appearance of wrinkles. The skin of a non-smoker gets more nutrients, including oxygen, and can reverse the sallow, lined complexion that smokers often have.
Watch this video to find out how smoking can ruin your looks.
Giving up tobacco stops teeth becoming stained, and you'll have fresher breath. Ex-smokers are less likely than smokers to get gum disease and lose their teeth prematurely.
Find out more about dental health.
People breathe more easily and cough less when they give up smoking because their lung capacity improves by up to 10% within nine months. In your 20s and 30s, the effect of smoking on your lung capacity may not be noticeable until you go for a run, but lung capacity naturally diminishes with age. In later years, having maximum lung capacity can mean the difference between having an active, healthy old age and wheezing when going for a walk or climbing the stairs.
Half of all long-term smokers die early from smoking-related diseases, including heart disease, lung cancer and chronic bronchitis. Men who quit smoking by 30 add 10 years to their life. People who kick the habit at 60 add three years to their life. In other words, it’s never too late to benefit from stopping. Quitting not only adds years to your life, but it also greatly improves the chance of a disease-free, mobile, happier old age.
Scientific studies show that people's stress levels are lower after they stop smoking. Nicotine addiction makes smokers stressed from the ‘withdrawal’ between cigarettes. The pleasant feeling of satisfying that craving is only temporary and is not a real cure for stress. Also, the improved levels of oxygen in the body means that ex-smokers can concentrate better and have increased mental wellbeing.
Read our top 10 stress-busters.
Improved smell and taste
Kicking the smoking habit gives your senses of smell and taste a boost. The body is recovering from being dulled by the hundreds of toxic chemicals found in cigarettes.
Within 2 to 12 weeks of stopping smoking, your circulation improves. This makes all physical activity, including walking and running, much easier.
Quitting also boosts your immune system, making it easier to fight off colds and flu. The increase in oxygen in the body makes ex-smokers less tired and less likely to have headaches.
Read these self-help tips to fight fatigue.
How to cut down to quit smoking
Cutting down to quit smoking is a bit like taking the slow lane.
Sometimes taking the slow lane means we reach our destination without as much stress.
You might not feel ready to quit smoking right now, but you might want to do something to get closer to your goal of being smoke free.
Cut down to quit methods allow you to cut down on smoking at your own pace, without placing too much pressure on yourself.
When cutting down to quit, be careful about how you inhale the cigarettes you are still smoking. Some people cut down the number of cigarettes but inhale more. This can undermine the cut down method and can make it more difficult to quit.