While we know that most people will be more successful with the
support of one of our Advisers, we also know that some people
prefer to try to go it alone. Here are our top tips to help
you do just that.
First things first.
Do you really want to quit? Never have another puff?
Ever? Unless your answer is yes, you aren't ready to
quit. It's virtually impossible to go from being an addicted
regular smoker to being an occassional smoker. So, don't be
fooled into thinking you'll quit, just to have the odd cigarette on
a night out with your mates. Sadly, it just doesn't work like
that for most people and as soon as you have a puff, you're right
back to the start of your withdrawal process. So, before you
try to quit, be sure you really understand what that means.
This will give you the very best chance of achieving a life free
from nicotine addiction.
The two things you have to beat
Nicotine - you are likely to be physically addicted to the
nicotine in cigarettes. Like most addictions, cutting down is
unlikely to help because you will probably smoke differently to get
the same amount of nicotine from fewer cigarettes. Eventually
you're likely to build back up to your previous smoking
levels. Remember there is no safe level of smoking. As
you quit, you’ll go through two types of withdrawal. The
first is real physical withdrawal; the other is when you just
remember what it was like to smoke and want a cigarette but without
any physical craving.
Behaviour - you will also have lots of routines and habits tied
up with your smoking. When you quit, you need to prepare for
and deal with both of these things.
The week before you quit
- Work out exactly why you really want to quit, write it down and
keep it safe. You can use that to keep reminding yourself why
you decided to quit.
- Set yourself a quit date but make sure you give yourself time
to prepare yourself properly.
- Buy yourself any Nicotine Replacement Therapy products that you
need like patches or gum - but remember if you get support from our
Advisers, you can get these at prescription prices or free if you
don't pay for your prescriptions.
- Consider buying some glucose tablets (use with caution if
you are diabetic). These can help you get through any
nicotine cravings you have.
- Buy any other things that might help to replace your cigarettes
when you quit. Consider things like sugar free lollipops and
- Have some distractions to take your mind off
quitting. Try magazines, books, puzzles or quizzes.
Choose things that you will enjoy but that will also keep your
hands and your head busy.
- Tell those close to you that you’re quitting and that you will
need their understanding. You may be a little more stressed
in the early days but long term, you’ll be much more chilled.
Do you know any really calm people who are very heavy smokers?
- Think carefully about what cigarettes you will miss most and
plan what you will do to replace those cigarettes. If you can
ensure that you replace those important cigarettes with something
else, it will mean that you are occupied and miss them less.
- Read the guidance with any products you are going to use to
ensure that you know exactly how to get the best use out of
The last cigarette
- The cigarette you have before going to sleep on the day before
you quit will be the last cigarette you ever have. Really
believe that is your last cigarette and congratulate yourself on
- When you have your last cigarette, get rid of everything to do
with your smoking - your cigarettes, lighters and ash trays
etc. If you haven’t got them, you can't use them.
Quit day and beyond
When you wake up, have a good breakfast. For many people,
this replaces the first cigarette of the day. It also helps
to keep your blood sugar levels steady which helps to overcome
- Eat a healthy balanced diet to help control your weight.
- Get lots of vitamin C and drink plenty of water. Your
body is going through a detox and this will help speed up the
process and keep you healthy while you quit.
- Consider changing drinks that you associate with smoking.
If you normally drink coffee and have a cigarette, switch to
another drink like juice so that you don’t have those old smoking
- If you feel like you want a cigarette after a meal, brushing
your teeth will help you get over it.
- Build some exercise into your routine. You will have
extra time on your hands now that you are not smoking and exercise
releases feel-good chemicals and helps to control weight.
- A real nicotine craving will only last three
minutes. Delaying having a cigarette for those three minutes
will help you overcome the craving.
- If you find yourself in an environment that you expect to be a
challenge in your quit attempt, escape from it as soon as you
- If you drink alcohol, be careful. Some people lose
control when they drink and you don’t want to risk your quit
attempt by doing this. So, consider avoiding alcohol and any
other situations where you might be tempted until you feel
confident that you are truly a non-smoker. This might
sound like a big sacrifice but after just a few weeks, you can get
on with enjoying your whole life as a non smoker - forever.
- The first three days of quitting are normally the worst so
getting through those is a massive achievement – congratulate
yourself on how well you are doing.
- Don’t be surprised if you feel anxious or upset. This is
perfectly normal and it will soon pass. Keep your motivation
strong and remember how much better you will feel very soon.
Others will be proud of you too. Keep reminding yourself you
can do this.
- Plan how you will reward yourself for staying Smoke-Free.
Then make sure you get those rewards at regular times throughout
the quitting process. Rewards should be just for you.
- Save all the money you would have spent on cigarettes.
Watch it grow and put it to really good use.
- Never, ever be tempted to just have another cigarette. Up
to 95% of smokers relapse on just one puff of a cigarette.
You don't want to have to go through the challenges of quitting all
- Remember to tell us how you get on. Good or bad, we want
to know whether you found this advice helpful, and how you’re
getting on with your quit.
- If you don’t succeed on your own, try again.