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Stop Smoking - tips to help you stop smoking for good

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Created: 27 July, 2016

Updated: 3 January, 2020

Quitting smoking can be extremely hard for some people. That’s why we have put together this stop smoking tips list to inspire you! 

When it comes to the question of "how to stop smoking", no two cases are the same.

For instance, some may be suddenly shocked into quitting by the loss of a loved one.

Others slowly get to grips with the harm they're doing to themselves when they encounter their first wheeze after climbing some stairs.

Take a look at our list of tips below and stop smoking today!

Or if you need some extra help quitting - See a doctor today
Click to find out more.

Stop going cold turkey

While gradually weaning yourself off the cigs might seem like the most logical way to give up altogether, a recent study found relatively higher success rates in those who just stopped altogether cold turkey. This might be the best way to quit smoking for some, while others will struggle as the withdrawal symptoms may be too much of a shock to the body.

1. Plan it out

Smoking has ingrained itself into your lifestyle and while it'd be good if you could just flat-out stop - your chemical and psychological addiction to cigarettes is going to be a big barrier.

To get yourself out of the smoking mindframe, it pays to plan ahead - and then stick to that plan like glue. For instance, it might help to arrange a holiday around the time you plan to quit, removing the triggers that usually lead you to smoke.

2. Learn from others

No two smokers are exactly alike, but you can learn how to quit smoking from someone who's already fought the battle to quit and successfully overcome their addiction. Veteran quitters will be able to offer advice on tactics that you can learn to help you win the many tiny battles that the war to quit involves.

For example:

"My #1 smoking tip would be to stop smoking for yourself. For the simple reason that you'll enjoy life so much as a non-smoker. Everything else that comes with quitting (more money, better health, control, less stress, better relaxation) are fabulous bonuses."

John Dicey - From Allen Carr’s Easyway

3. Throw it out

Get rid of all your smoking paraphernalia and don't fall into the habit of bargaining with yourself that your next one will be the last one. If you leave yourself access to cigs, you'll always be aware they're there in the back of your mind.

4. Remove that smell

The smell of cigarettes is insiduous. So be sure to thoroughly cleanse anything that's come into contact with it. Pay particular attention to your clothes and any furniture coverings that may have been exposed.

5. Use logic

When the cravings come back, stop, take a breath and think logically. You will come to the conclusion that smoking is not what you want to do and like Spock, you’ll live long and prosper!

6. Drink water

Smoking is as much a habit as an addiction, so it pays to find a substitute for the act itself. When you find yourself craving a cigarette, try reaching for the H20 instead.

7. Reward yourself

As the days go by, cravings will get easier to control, so rewarding yourself at the beginning is important. If you get through a hard day of cravings, buy that t-shirt you always wanted. Giving up smoking is one of best things you'll ever do and you should be rewarded for trying!

8. Don’t skip meals!

You've only got a finite amount of willpower and skipping meals can weaken your mental defences, making it easier to give in to the temptation to smoke.

9. Stop during Stoptober

Every year thousands quit smoking for 28 days and beyond with Stoptober. It starts on the 1st October, so you'll be joined by many others trying to kick the habit.

10. If you relapse, just start again

Don't view a relapse as a complete failure, just a bump in the road. As long as you're serious about wanting to quit - you'll get there if you just stick at it.


Physical Tips


11. Put all the money you’re saving on cigarettes in a large glass jar

To help quantify the benefits of not smoking on your wallet, shove everything you would've spent on cigarettes in a large glass jar and put it on prominent display.

You can even calculate how much you will save with our cost calculator beforehand!

12. Switch to decaf

As you go through withdrawal from nicotine, you may find yourself getting irritable - switching to decaf coffee can help keep you level.

For many smokers, coffee and cigarettes go hand-in-hand, so it may be worthwhile to steer clear of the old Joe until you're over the worst of the withdrawal.

13. To minimise cravings, change your routine

Smoking becomes ingrained in your routine and switching things up for a short while can help you avoid patterns that lead to falling off the wagon.


15. Press your ear

If you're a fan of complementary therapies like acupuncture, the ear is apparently the site of the Shenmen - a pressure point that can help provide relief from cravings.

16. Drown a cigarette

When you first decide to quit, get a reasonably-sized plastic water bottle and fill with water. Get a cigarette and mercilessly drown it. This isn't just cathartic, keep the bottle around and watch the water turn foul. Then, when you feel a craving spike coming on, undo the lid for a powerful reminder as to why quitting is a good idea.

17. Do some exercise

Not only will exercise help you take your mind off smoking, it helps get your blood pumping and oxygen moving around your body. Some of the best ways to exercise when quitting smoking include riding your bike, swimming, running, a long hike or even just a gentle walk with the dog! 

18. Spend the money you saved by not smoking

It pays to quit smoking and you can quantify this by putting the money you would've spent on cigs on display in a piggy bank or bottle. After you reach a milestone, buy yourself something nice to celebrate.

19. Take up yoga

Yoga can help reduce stress and keep you fit, providing a powerful way to beat the cravings. 


Mental Tips

20. Set a quit date

It's always easy to push your quit date back and back again, so set in stone when you're going to stop.

21. Make an honest list of all the things you like about smoking

We're all well aware of the bad points about smoking, but few are as candid about the things that make it such a popular hobby. Be honest and write down all the things you enjoy about smoking and you'll have an easier time letting them go. 


22. Prepare a list of things to do when a craving hits

Coping strategies are important, so make sure you've got yours to hand when the time strikes.

23. Quit when you’re in a good mood

Trying to quit when you're worried, stressed or have other stuff going on in your life is a recipe for disaster. Try and get your life settled before taking on a heavyweight contender like smoking.

24. Think of difficult things you have done in the past

Willpower is finite, but you can give yourself a boost by recalling difficult challenges you've overcome in the past. 

25. Make a new playlist and listen to it

Put together a quit smoking playlist filled with tunes that get you get you pumped and put it on whenever your willpower is flagging. There are already some great ones on Spotify:


26. Find a healthy snack you can carry with you

Nicotine suppresses your appetite and it's common for those who've recently quit to put on a few rebound pounds. Preparation is the key to avoiding this and you should make sure you've stocked the fridge with healthy snacks like berries and (ideally unsalted) nuts.


27. Switch to a cup of herbal tea whenever you usually have a cigarette

Herbal teas like green tea aren't just generally good for you, but can also be a powerful aid when it comes to kicking your smoking habit into touch. 

Brewing up whenever you fancy a cig can effectively replace the ritual and sipping a hot drink will help crack down on cravings by making you less antsy.

28. Eat more fruit and vegetables

A University of Buffalo study surveyed 1,000 people and found that those who ate more fruit and vegetables performed better at abstaining from cigarettes.

Researchers speculated this could be due to the additional fibre intake increasing feelings of fullness, or fruit generally reducing nicotine dependence.

This will help you battle cravings and limit the amount of weight you put on as your post-smoking appetite kicks in. 

29. Chew gum

Gum is a good tip to curb the cravings. You can even upgrade to nicotine gum to help keep those chemical cravings in check.

30. Avoid alcohol

Alcohol is a well known trigger for smoking and should be avoided. Stay away from alcohol until you are comfortable being around other smokers and not smoking yourself - "Smokers drink and drinkers smoke"


Friends and family


31. Create a smoke-free zone

While you don't want to be a buzzkill, friends and family will definitely understand if you don't want them flaunting their smoking in your face while you're trying to kick the habit.

32. Tell your friends, co-workers, boss, partner and kids how you feel

Don't keep your feelings bottled up, tell your friends, co-workers and anyone else you interact with on a daily basis that you're trying to quit and how it's going. You might be surprised how often they'll go that extra mile to support you in your goals.

33. Find a friend

Buddy up and find a friend who's also trying to quit. They'll know exactly what you're going through and should be on-hand to help you through the hard times

If you can't find a friend who's trying to quit, don't be afraid to reach for the phone when things are looking bleak. Having a shoulder to lean on when you're close to breaking point can make all the difference.

34. Think of the kids!

Just remember you want to be around for their graduation, wedding and eventually, grandkids. In the end, family & friends are one of the biggest driving factors for people to quit. So why not take a minute sit back and think of all the happy times to come now you have stopped smoking.

 35. Join Facebook groups and community forums

Join Facebook groups and forums where people are actively helping each other to quit smoking. These are a great place to talk to others who have been where you are right now. Talk to them, learn from them and use their experience to ditch the habit.


Medical Help to quit smoking


36. See a doctor

See a doctor for help on how to quit - With "higher intensity" interventions you're 22.1% more likely to succeed! These can be in doctor consultations of 10 minutes or less. 

37. Understand smoking withdrawal symptoms

Before setting out - get to grips with what you're going to go through and plan accordingly.

38. Make an appointment with an acupuncturist

Acupuncture can be a great complementary therapy for those trying to quit cigarettes, as well as being highly relaxing in itself.

39. See a smoking therapist

Specialist smoking therapists are trained to deal with all the ups and downs that come with kicking the habit and can drastically increase your chances of success.

40. Look at anti-smoking images

Looking at anti-smoking images won't be the deciding factor to quitting smoking but it does deliver a short shock to the system. Take a look at some of the most creative anti smoking ads from the past.

41. Try nicotine patches

Nicotine patches are described as:

"A patch impregnated with nicotine, which is worn on the skin by a person trying to give up smoking. Nicotine is gradually absorbed into the bloodstream, helping reduce the craving for cigarette"

For some people these can be crucial when quitting as it gives them the edge when battling withdrawal symptoms.

42. Try behavioural therapy

Try Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to quit smoking. This is the process of restructuring your thought processes and combining it with new learning behaviours to quit smoking.

43. Try nicotine replacement therapy

Nicotine replacement therapy increases your chances of quitting smoking by about 50%, although it can be quite pricey! Can you put a price on your health?

44. Try a smoking vaccination shot

These injections help to stop you smoking by blocking the nicotine receptors in the brain. Again, it doesn’t work for everyone as it depends on how your body reacts to the shot, but studies have shown an increased chance of quitting after a vaccine has been taken

45 E-cigs

E-cigarettes or ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems) are a popular alternative to smoking cigarettes. Although you're not totally quitting as the vapour contains some toxicants found in cigarette smoke, they're at much lower levels and considered “better” than traditional smoking.

46. Brush and floss your teeth

Brush and floss your teeth to remove any residual tastes or smells. In old age, smokers have 6 teeth less than non-smokers. It only takes around 2 weeks for your dental blood circulation to return to that of a non-smoker.

47. Look at a smoking recovery timetable

Looking at a smoking recovery timetable can put things into perspective, especially when you see the benefits over long periods of time. Improvements in lung functions and reduced risk of heart attacks can be the difference in later quality of life.

48. Visit support websites

There are plenty of support websites around to help you quit smoking, all with their own list of tips and advice. The NHS even has local stop smoking services that can help you quit.


Need help quitting smoking? 

If you're looking for expert medical advice or prescription medication to help you stop smoking - hit the button below and talk to an experienced UK GP right now:

 See a Doctor



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