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10 top tips to quit smoking for good

10 top tips to quit smoking for good

10 top tips to stop smoking for good

Decided to give up smoking? First of all, well done! We promise it’s one of the very best decisions you will ever make.

Since you’ve already made it this far, we’re sure you don’t need telling about all the many different reasons why. Instead, you’re probably wondering how to go about making this life-changing ambition a reality.

There are no two ways about it - quitting can be hard. Really hard. Sometimes it can take several attempts (indeed, you may already know this from personal experience).

But with determination, perseverance, good habits and the right support, you can do it.

To set you off on the right path, here are 10 top tips for quitting smoking for good…

1. List your reasons to quit

There are so many brilliant reasons to quit smoking, from general truths about how smoking affects the human body to the deeply personal.

Think about who you are quitting for. Is it for yourself? Are you worried about the long-term damage smoking will do to your lungs? Are you concerned about your risk of developing cancer? Do you simply want to smell better? Maybe you want to improve your sense of taste? Or how about all the money you’ve been burning on cigarettes?

For many of us, the decision to quit smoking is more about other people.

It’s a simple tragic fact that two-thirds of smokers will die too soon unless they quit. Think about what – and who – you will miss out on if you become one of them.

Write down the names of your loved ones and what your decision to quit smoking will mean to them; from sharing old age together with your partner, to seeing your children grow into adults and have children of their own, to being able to make special memories with your grandchildren.

Keep this list to hand to look at when you feel you may be having a wobble. Remembering why you’re quitting can help you push through when you’re finding it hard.

2. Pick a date

Don’t feel bad if you’re not quite ready just yet. Many smokers find they need a little time to prepare themselves to quit.

Pick a date when you want to start (ideally sometime within the next two weeks) and add this date to your calendar.

Think carefully about day one. Try not to choose a day when you know you’ll be stressed or tempted to smoke. Know you’re going for a drink with friends, for instance? You may want to wait until after that to start your attempt.

Choose a date when it’s realistic for you to stop - and set it in stone.

3. Tell people you’re quitting

Friends and family can help you stay on track. They can keep you accountable when you’re feeling tempted to smoke and remind you of why you’re quitting.

Your friends can also be supportive of your goal. If they themselves are smokers, they’ll know not to offer you a cigarette, ask you to join them for a smoking break, or smoke around you.

4. Throw your cigarettes away!

Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But making sure to remove the easy temptation is important.

You have made your decision and are sticking to it, so the smokes have got to go. There’s no need to keep any around ‘just in case’, so clear the house before your start date!

5. Know your triggers

You’ll know from experience when you’re most likely to smoke and when your cravings are strongest. List these triggers and think about how you can avoid them.

Do you smoke more often when you are drinking? If so, think about laying off alcohol for a period while you make your adjustment to being smoke free.

If you smoke more when you are stressed, do what you can to avoid putting yourself in stressful situations or think about other things you can do to relieve stress. Take a few moment to breathe and relax, talk to a friend, or maybe go for a brisk walk.

Have a plan in place for moments when you are tempted to smoke. What will you do instead? It’s good to be prepared so you’re not scrambling for an alternative in a moment of weakness.

If you’ve tried to quit before, remember what worked for you last time and try to repeat that – and be wary of situations that caused you to become unstuck.

6. Get busy!

They say the devil makes work for idle hands, and staying busy can help keep your mind off smoking.

This is the perfect time to take up a new hobby. Been interested in doing something new for a while? Start now and channel your energy into something positive.

Don’t leave yourself at a loose end. Make plans for the weekend, or throw yourself into some DIY or jobs you’ve been meaning to get around to.

7. Exercise

Being more physically active can keep your cravings in check as well as helping you maintain a healthy weight.

It can also improve your mental health, which can be especially important if you find yourself struggling to quit.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much more you can do now you’re smoke free. Your lung function and circulation quickly start to improve and you’ll feel much fitter than before, with more air in your lungs. This, in turn, will motivate you to keep going and quit for good.

Just make sure to build up gradually over time. Start slow and small and gradually increase your intensity.

8. Don’t have ‘just one’

It can be tempting to think you can allow yourself ‘just one’ cigarette to dampen your cravings, or even ‘reward’ yourself for doing so well. Don’t do it. More often than not, having ‘just one’ leads to ‘just one more’ and before you know it you are back where you started.

Allowing yourself ‘just one’ cigarette isn’t worth jeopardising all your progress.

9. Use stop smoking aids

For most people it’s best to combine behavioural changes with Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT).

From gums and patches, to sprays, losenges and vapes, there are a range of products that can be used in combination to help you manage withdrawal symptoms and significantly increase your chances of quitting.

10. Join a support group

Talking to others who are also quitting smoking can be really helpful.

The NHS has a Quit Smoking Support Group on Facebook (external link) you can join, with thousands of like-minded people at different stages of their journeys all sharing their experiences and supporting each other to keep going.

Looking for more support to stop smoking? Our Be Well health advisors offer a range of practical and convenient options to help you quit for good.

You can also get 24/7 access to trained stop smoking advisors via the Smoke Free app (external link) - FREE for 6 months for Greater Manchester residents (T&Cs apply).

To find out more about Be Well and stay up to date with all things health and wellbeing across Wigan Borough, make sure to follow us on Facebook (external link), Instagram (external link) and X (external link).

Posted on Monday 4th March 2024

© Wigan Council