Have you decided to stop smoking? Great! The most important thing is that you are the one who wants to quit.
It's a good idea to be prepared. When you stop smoking, you can feel it in your body and it can affect your mood. You might also need to change some of your habits a little.
What you can do to stop smoking:
1. Decide on a date
Choose a date when you’ll stop smoking, for example two weeks from now. That gives you time to prepare.
2. Make a note of when you smoke
For one day, right down the answer to these questions every time you smoke:
- What time is it?
- What are you doing?
- How important does the cigarette feel?
- How do you feel when you smoke? For example, are you happy, sad or stressed?
This is one way to prepare yourself. You’ll become aware of what smoking means to you.
3. Avoid certain situations and places to start with
What situations and places are linked to smoking for you? These are situations and places where it might feel hard not to smoke, once you’ve quit. Avoid them to start with.
4. Decide what you’ll do when you get the urge to smoke
It can sometimes feel difficult, when you’ve stopped smoking. It will feel easier if you’re prepared.
Decide what you’ll do when you get the urge to smoke. Here are a few suggestions:
- Eat some fruit.
- Chew gum.
- Drink a glass of water.
- Brush your teeth.
- Do something on your mobile.
- Think about how much money you’re saving by not buying cigarettes.
5. Throw your cigarettes away
Throw away all your cigarettes and lighters. Do this at the latest, on the day you’ve decided to stop smoking.
6. Eat and drink properly
You won’t crave cigarettes as much if you aren’t hungry. Eat something when you wake up. Drink water when you feel you want a cigarette or are thirsty. Water is better than sugary soft drinks.
7. Dare to feel your cravings
When you have a craving for a cigarette, think about how it feels. Where in your body do you feel it? What are you thinking about? How long does the feeling last? Try to relax.
The craving for cigarettes usually only lasts a few minutes –which can be good to know.
8. Get help from other people
It can be good to get help from other people when you stop smoking. Tell someone you know. Ask that person to support and encourage you. Say if you want help with something in particular, like asking friends not to smoke when you meet up.
Do you have a friend who also wants to stop smoking? You could help each other.
9. Be proud and reward yourself
You should be proud every time you get through a craving without smoking!
Reward yourself for not smoking. Treat yourself to a present or do something fun to celebrate getting through one day, one week, two weeks, or six months. You can use the money you’ve saved by not buying cigarettes.
After a while, think back about all the good things that have happened since you stopped smoking. Have you noticed anything in particular? Write down what comes to mind, or tell someone.
To start with, you might feel irritated or sad
Some people feel irritated, restless or sad when they stop smoking. The brain is used to having the nicotine which is in cigarettes, and wants to have it again. This is called withdrawal.
The withdrawal symptoms are usually strongest in the first few days. They then get less and less.
There are medicines that can reduce your cravings
There are medicines that can reduce your craving for cigarettes. These include gum and nicotine patches. If you’re over the age of 18, you can buy these in supermarkets or pharmacies. If you’re under 18, you need to see a doctor in order to get nicotine-based medicines.
There are also nicotine-free medicines. You need to see a doctor to be able to get these medicines.
Try again if it doesn’t work
It’s common to be tempted into smoking again at some point, after you’ve stopped. Doing so doesn’t mean you’ve totally failed or that you can’t quit.
Try to quit again. You’ve had practice now. You know which bits were easy and which bits were hard. Prepare yourself in particular for the hard bits next time round.
The best thing is to stop smoking completely. Smoking one cigarette now and then doesn’t usually work.