Smoking is addictive.
It's hard to stop, but with help and support, you can quit smoking.
Quitting smoking can be one of the most difficult, yet rewarding, things a person can do. Most smokers say they would like to quit, and may have tried at least once. Some are successful the first time, but others try a number of times before they finally give up for good.
It might take time, it can be hard as your body has become dependent on nicotine, but many people have succeeded in giving up smoking. Become one of them by making a quit plan, using these steps:
Going Cold Turkey
Giving up smoking suddenly, with no outside help or support, is known as going 'cold turkey'. People who use this method rely on their own willpower to get them through the cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
While this is a popular method, it's not as successful as using a combination of methods and support.
If you want to try it, you'll have a better chance of success if you:
avoid situations that will trigger a desire to smoke
distract yourself with new activities
get support from family and friends
focus on the benefits of not smoking
Gradually Cutting Down
This method involves slowly reducing the number of cigarettes you're smoking until you've quit completely. It's not as effective as quitting completely, but it might be a good place to start if you're not ready to quit right away.
You can cut down by:
It's still a good idea to set a quit date and work towards that. Read more about cutting down to quit.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
NRT aims to reduce the cravings and withdrawal symptoms that occur when you stop smoking. Used properly, NRT can make a big difference in helping you quit successfully.
Available from pharmacies and some supermarkets, without a prescription, it comes in different forms:
nasal and oral sprays
lozenges or tablets
How does it help?
By providing small, measured doses of nicotine into the bloodstream, you're not getting the harmful chemicals from tobacco smoke. Reducing physical withdrawal symptoms means you can focus on the situations and emotions that can trigger a desire to smoke.
Did you know?
Combining 2 forms of NRT has been shown to work better than using a single method because they work in different ways. For example:
a patch releases nicotine slowly, giving you a steady dose of nicotine
a gum or spray releases nicotine more quickly, helping deal with sudden cravings
Is it subsidized through the PBS?
Some nicotine patches are available at a reduced price through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for all eligible Australians (including concession card holders). Your doctor will need to give you a prescription so it's best to talk about which products will work best for you.
here are other prescription medicines, available through the PBS, that can reduce withdrawal symptoms, such as Bupropion (Zyban) and Varenicline (Champix®). They work by blocking the nicotine receptors in your brain so smoking is less enjoyable.
These medicines are not suitable for everybody, so talk to your doctor or health professional to find out whether they're right for you. There are limits on how many prescriptions you can have in a year, and you may be required to receive support from Quitline or a health professional while you're quitting.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are eligible for extra help through the PBS.
My QuitBuddy is a free mobile phone app designed to support and encourage you to quit smoking. It lets you set personal goals, track your progress and see how much money you've saved. Alerts and other messages help keep you on track and support is available from the many other people using the app.
The Quit for You – Quit for Two mobile phone app helps pregnant women to quit smoking. While it offers similar features to My QuitBuddy it has also has information about your baby's development to help keep you motivated.
Other services you may find helpful include:
the Quitline — call 137 848 between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday, to talk to a counsellor or ask for a callback
Quit Pack — ask the Quitline for this free pack. It contains useful information including: a book to help you prepare, a guide to choosing the best way for you to quit, and a handy wallet card with tips to cope with cravings
QuitCoach — an online tool that asks questions about your smoking habits and lifestyle. Using that information it creates a quit plan tailored for you.