How to quit smoking
Thinking about quitting smoking? Not quite sure where to start?
Everyone is different. What works for one person, may not work for another. So, it’s up to you to decide what works and what doesn’t - but being motivated to quit is key.
You don’t have to start from scratch though, there are some clever tips and tricks that have been shown to help many people quit. Have a read through these suggestions and make note of anything you think might work for you. If you have tried to quit before, you might want to add your own pointers based on your previous experiences. This time, you could be well on your way to quitting!
Set a date
- When do you want to be smoke-free? It doesn’t have to be straight away – quitting takes planning and preparation. You might want to consider setting your quit date at least a month in the future and use that time to prepare for quitting success.
Write down your reasons for quitting
- Quitting smoking has many health benefits: easier breathing, younger looking skin, more energy, less stressed. The list goes on. What are you most looking forward to?
- Are there other reasons you want to quit? Maybe you’re quitting so you can save money for a holiday. If you play a sport, maybe you’re quitting to improve your endurance. Or perhaps you’re tired of the hassle of smoking.
- Are you quitting with someone or something else in mind? A child, grandchild or for your pet's health? Are you quitting because you want to be a better role model for someone?
Whatever your reasons, write them down and keep them in your back pocket, on the refrigerator door, or in the car. That way, you can refer back to your list when you need motivation throughout your quit journey.
Avoid situations that make you crave a cigarette
- Do you smoke while driving to work, or in the morning while drinking coffee? Maybe you light-up with others at work? Keeping track of these habits can help you break them – plan alternative routes and activities that help avoid these triggers.
- You might want to build a ‘quit kit’ to help you manage your triggers. Fill it with things that give you something to do with your hands, such as a stress ball, healthy snacks like nuts and carrots, and items to replace cigarettes in your mouth. Whether that’s a lollipop, breath mint, or piece of chewing gum, figure out what works best for you.
Talk to your doctor
- You're up to 4x more likely to succeed in quitting with the help of a healthcare professional compared to quitting unaided.1 They can help with counselling, recommending smoking cessation treatment where appropriate, and a range of other support services that may make your quit journey easier.
- Tell your doctor about your reasons for quitting, and any smoking triggers you’ve identified. This will help you make a quit plan that works for you.
- Talk to your doctor about whether a smoking cessation treatment is appropriate for you. If you’ve tried one of these in the past, let your doctor know, so you can discuss if that treatment or an alternative will best meet your needs. It’s also important to let your doctor know if you have a history of mental illness such as depression or anxiety, or if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
- If you have your medicine in hand, make sure you understand how to use it by reading the Consumer Medicine Information which is available from your doctor or pharmacist. This leaflet answers some commonly asked questions about the medicine which may assist you in your conversation with your healthcare professional.
Let your friends and family support you
- Your friends and family want you to succeed in quitting smoking. Let them know that you are quitting and that you could use their encouragement and support. Many smokers say that support of the people around them is essential to successfully quitting.
- If you are a non-smoker or former smoker who wants to support someone who is trying to quit, let that person know you’re there for them, and ready to discuss quitting when they are.
Reward yourself for staying smoke-free
- Set yourself short- and long-term goals that you can look forward to, especially early on in the quitting process. Reward yourself for being 24-hours smoke-free, and keep it up as you reach 48 hours, one week, one month, and beyond!
- When you’re tracking your smoking patterns, keep track of the time you spend on smoke breaks – the average smoker takes about 5 minutes per break. Calculate how your breaks add up, and set a goal for yourself to use that time for something else.
- Cigarettes cost about $25–30 a pack!2 Work out how much money you will save by quitting and put it toward buying something special for yourself or your family.
Learn from your experiences
- Have you tried to quit before? Think about what helped you and what didn’t and use that information to build your quit plan. This will help increase your chances of quitting. Just remember to keep trying – it’s normal to have many quit attempts. Don’t get discouraged. Learning from your last attempt sets you up for greater success in your next attempt!
Take the first step
The first step to quitting starts with a doctor. Find out how you can get the help you need.