How to quit smoking – for good

Thinking about breaking your nicotine habit? On World No Tobacco Day, we take a look at the best ways to quit smoking.

There aren’t too many smokers who haven’t tried, or at least thought about, quitting.

And on World No Tobacco Day, there is no time like the present to have a red-hot go at butting out.

Matthew Frei, clinical director at Turning Point addiction treatment, education and research centre, says cigarettes have killed more people than any other addictive drug.

He says GPs or pharmacists are integral in helping smokers kick the habit – but there are other ways to put yourself on the right track.

Look online for help to quit smoking

Dr Frei says smokers looking to quit should turn to their devices for help.

“Extensive quit information is available online and through apps and other websites,” he says.

Get over-the-counter help

Smokers can also self-manage quitting with the help of over-the-counter treatments.

There is a huge range of products available for smokers looking to give up cigarettes, including gum, inhalers, patches, mists and lozenges.

Electronic cigarettes or not?

Some studies suggest electronic cigarettes can help with quitting, but the jury is out among the medical fraternity.

Still, Dr Frei says they show promise in their ability to deliver nicotine in a much less harmful way than burned tobacco.

How to stick with quitting

Dr Frei says tricks used to stop smoking are often similar to those looking to quit any other drug.

  • Distraction:

“Put off having a cigarette, do something else, leave cigarettes behind when you leave the house, even if it is to go out to the garden,” he says.

  • Breathe, walk and drink water:

“These simple tips really do work,” says Dr Frei.

  • Know the danger signs:

Recognise your triggers for smoking, for example after a meal, while on the phone, with alcohol. Plan so you can minimise or avoid these high-risk situations.

  • Celebrate small victories:

If you are overwhelmed by the thought of never smoking again, accept the achievement in not smoking today and deal with the next day when that comes.

  • Remember why you quit smoking in the first place:

Remind yourself of the benefits of quitting: besides health benefits, you will save money, and won’t be tainting everything with the smell of stale cigarette smoke.

  • Don’t give up on giving up:

“Most importantly, don’t be disheartened if the first attempt does not work. Think about asking for help from friends or quit services, and try again,” Dr Frei says.

Need another reason to quit smoking? Check out our story on why it’s important to be a good role model for your children.

Written by Sally Heppleston