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Top 5 tips for quitting smoking successfully

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If you’ve been thinking about stopping smoking, you’ve already taken the first step towards success. You might have realised that smoking cigarettes is making you unhealthy, that it is too expensive or that your relationships are suffering because of your habit. Whatever your reason, deciding to be smoke-free can have a number of positive effects on your health and wellbeing.

Quitting smoking isn’t always easy, but it can be done. Below we’ve shared some tips to help you as you quit.

Don’t go it alone

Smokers who quit often need support during the days, weeks and months after they’ve stopped smoking.

Services like Quitline (13 78 48) allow you to call and speak to a counsellor about quitting. When you call Quitline, you can talk to a counsellor about the tools you might use to help you quit and make a quit plan. The counsellor can also send you self-help materials to support you as you stop smoking.

You can also discuss quitting smoking with your GP, pharmacist or community health worker, and plan a quitting strategy together. The Quit now website lists a range of other tools, apps and websites you can use to make quitting easier.

Understand the realities of quitting

It’s important to be realistic about how you’re going to feel when you quit smoking so that you can plan ahead and don’t get discouraged if the process is hard. Remember that the process of quitting is different for every smoker and that you might find quitting easier or more difficult than previous attempts.

The nicotine in cigarettes is addictive, which means smokers can experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop regularly inhaling nicotine from cigarettes. Every smoker will experience withdrawal symptoms differently. They might have only a few, mild symptoms, or they might notice several symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • urges to smoke
  • feeling down or depressed
  • feeling angry, frustrated or easily annoyed
  • feeling anxious
  • difficulty sleeping
  • difficulty concentrating
  • restlessness
  • decreased heart rate
  • increased appetite
  • or decreased adrenalin and cortisol (chemicals in the brain).

Symptoms usually start within the first day without a cigarette, and are at their worst during the first week. On average, ex-smokers notice their symptoms fading or disappearing after one month, and most feel back to normal, or even better, within six months.

Avoid triggers and plan ahead

Having a plan might make or break your success in quitting smoking. Make a quit plan using the steps on the Quitline website, or call Quitline on 13 78 48 to discuss your plan with a trained counsellor.

When you’re planning to quit, think about what might tempt you to start smoking again, and ways you can avoid these triggers. For example, if you smoke on your morning tea break, ask a non-smoker to get coffee with you and have a conversation during the time.

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Quit as a team

It can be easier to keep a commitment if you’re part of a group working towards the same goals. If your workplace is eligible, programs like Workplace Quit Smoking can help your work team become smoke-free. Or, you might have a group of family members or friends who decide to quit together. This means you’ll be supported by others going through the same process, and your workplace will be healthier for everyone.

Keep the bigger picture in mind

When quitting seems tough, keep in mind the reasons you decided to quit in the first place.

Make a plan for how you’ll spend the money you’re going to save, or start a journal to track the positive changes you notice about your health. Talk to your friends and family about why you’re quitting, and why it’s a good choice that will benefit everyone.

Last updated: 9 January 2018