5 Helpful Tips to Quit Smoking

The start of summer is the time for many to give their health and lifestyle habits a bit of a makeover. For those that smoke, stopping can be one great thing you can do to help your health. I won’t pretend to know what it’s like to quit smoking permanently as I’ve not done it, and this post isn’t about judgements on those of us that smoke. It’s a difficult addiction to beat whether you’re looking to cut down or quit cold turkey, so here’s a collaborative post covering just a few tips and suggestions that may help.

A photo of a cigarette broken in half. The background is totally white and the post title is above in black text.

Smoking is a habit and addiction that is difficult to stop, but once you do quit, you’ll likely find that the quality of your life improves significantly.

Smoking comes with a lot of potential dangers, as we all know. On the extreme end of things, it increases your risks of dealing with heart and lung diseases in the future, and on the less extreme end, heartburns can be more common among smokers. The benefits are quitting can be many and varied, most notably including the reduced risk of lung diseases. Many find quitting itself to be a good treatment for heartburn that was caused by smoking. Here are five simple tips to help you quit your addiction. 

1. Find Your Motivation

Quitting smoking isn’t as easy as saying the words “I’m never going to smoke again”.  For the most part, it’s a full-blown addiction with habitual and ritual elements to it, so it’s not easy to simply quit. If you want to stop smoking for good, you need some solid motivation. To really drive it deep, it should be a very strong personal reason. 

Some reasons other people have stopped smoking include lowering their risk of getting lung or heart-related diseases, extending their lifespan and protecting their loved ones from being exposed to second-hand smoking. It could be that you want to feel better, fitter, stronger and healthier, free from the cravings and addiction. Once you find that strong motivation, you are one step closer to achieving your goal. 

Keep your motivation refreshed and at the forefront of your mind. You might want to try reminders or motivational mantras on sticky notes around the home to keep you on track.

A photo of some cigarettes in an ashtray to the right. A cigarette butt is in the middle of the photo with ash on the table.

2. Speak To Your Doctor

As mentioned earlier, smoking is often an addictive habit, so simply throwing out your cigarettes isn’t going to be enough to keep you grounded. Since it is an addiction, cessation can have some effects on your brain, as you’ll likely experience some pretty intense nicotine withdrawal. 

That’s why it is important to speak to your doctor about your decision so they can discuss some additional options with you. Some of these options may include therapy, hypnosis, self help books, and classes designed to help you quit smoking, even meditation. They might provide the information or prescription, or signpost you to local services. Once you are equipped with this information, you can prepare for what is coming. 

3. Consider Other Options

With nicotine withdrawal, your brain can try to trick you into feeling like you absolutely need to smoke. During this time, you may experience headaches, loss of appetite, mood swings, or constant drained energy. Just know that your brain will try to convince you that just one smoke will make you feel brand new. 

Instead of going through this blindly, you might want to consider some options, one of which is nicotine replacement therapy. This may involve nicotine patches, nicotine gum, or lozenges. Several studies have been conducted on these therapy methods and suggest that they can successfully help many people quit smoking when combined with a corresponding program. 

Cigarette alternatives are another option. Some people prefer to go cold turkey without moving on to vaping, whereas others find vaping or e-cigarettes to be the key to getting them off the cigarettes.

There are also things like self-help books, audiobooks, hypnosis, website tools, printable tracker sheets and apps that can help keep you accountable or give you ideas and inspiration.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to quitting, so it’s helpful to have a few options at your disposal to see what works for you.

4. Try Switching Up Your Diet

Smoking is often something you do after eating, and there is actually a reason for this. Studies have shown that some certain foods make you want to smoke and make a drag feel much more satisfying, for instance red meat and fatty foods.

On the other hand, vegetables, fruits and cheese can make cigarettes taste less appealing. So if your aim is to quit smoking, you might want to consider going over your diet and making some substitutions if you find that you’re mostly consuming the foods that make you want to smoke. 

A colourful photo of fruits and veggies on a plate and in a bowel, with some flowers at the top to give it a bright and summery feel.

5. Lean On Family & Friends For Support 

External support is often hugely beneficial in the process of stopping smoking. To better your chances of quitting, inform your family and your friends about your decision. Do this so they can encourage you when you are overwhelmed with the urge to smoke. You might also want to consider joining a support group in your local community so that you have a support system comprising people who have the same goal as you.

Not everyone will have a support system with friends and family, and not everyone will find the idea of an in-person community group appealing. As an alternative, there are various online tools, social media groups and forums that may be beneficial for support, new ideas and motivation.

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[ This is a collaborative post & as such the ideas expressed here are that of the author ]

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19 Comments

  1. June 7, 2020 / 5:10 pm

    When I quit smoking (about 14 years ago), I found changing my diet as well as routine was the greatest help of all. I also banned anyone from smoking near me 😉 avoided going out much, and switched coffee for tea. It was hard at first, but motivation kept me going, one day at a time. And instead of loss of appetite, I became ravenous!

  2. Rachael Stray
    June 7, 2020 / 5:33 pm

    Great tips 👍🏻 I’m so thankful I’ve never smoked.

  3. June 7, 2020 / 5:38 pm

    I quit smoking 15 years ago and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It was also the best thing I’ve ever done. All great advice. My doctor helped guide me though quitting. Important to have the doctor on board. Also stay away from places or things that make you want to smoke. Bars and alcohol.

    Have a fabulous day and week, Caz. ♥

  4. June 7, 2020 / 6:37 pm

    Caz, these are some fantastic tips to help quit smoking! Luckily I have never smoked so I will never need to use them.

  5. June 7, 2020 / 8:40 pm

    thank goodness I’ve never smoked — sounds horrendous to quit. you’re kind to encourage all 🙂

  6. June 7, 2020 / 10:11 pm

    I know I need to stop and I wish it was easy 🙁

  7. June 8, 2020 / 12:09 pm

    This is a great post Caz, I started smoking when I was 14 because I wanted to be like the cool kids in school, I stopped smoking in 1982 and it wasn’t easy because everyone around me was smoking, there was no ban on smoking in public places, all my friends smoked, but I was determined. And the thing with smoking is that it can show up on you when you’re older because it does affect your body and not in a good way. Thanks have a beautiful day xoxo

  8. June 8, 2020 / 1:34 pm

    Good tips to break a bad habit. I’ve never smoked, mostly because I had asthma as a teen. This is a hard habit to break so I applaud everyone that tries.

  9. June 8, 2020 / 2:05 pm

    I really like the variety of your posts:) This one will be very helpful for a lot of people. Cheers!

  10. June 8, 2020 / 2:31 pm

    Thankfully, I have never smoked and I am really glad, but stopping is obviously so very difficult. This will be a very helpful post to many people.

  11. June 8, 2020 / 3:35 pm

    You have some great tips here, Caz. I’ve quit smoking many times and you give some great advice. My problem is that no matter how long I go without, I can’t seem to stop myself from picking them back up, especially when around someone else smoking. I made it almost 3 years this last go round and ended up picking it back up. 🤦‍♀️ I guess the most important thing is that we keep trying! Thanks for the tips. Xx

  12. June 8, 2020 / 5:48 pm

    These are excellent tips! I’ve never smoked. I watched my Grandma Betty smoke for years when I was a kid. The smell was awful! She finally quit when I was in elementary school, around the time she turned 65. When she quit, she’d been smoking for 50 years. She ended up on progressive oxygen, diagnosed with emphysema and COPD. When she died in 2011 at 81, she only had 16 percent lung capacity. Watching her slowly deteriorate was enough to convince me that I didn’t need to start. Thanks for sharing!

    • June 11, 2020 / 9:16 pm

      I’m so sorry about your grandma, that must have been heartbreaking seeing her like that and knowing it would only get worse. Smokers seem to be affected very differently, with some in their 80s having smoked 20 a day with little damage to show for it relative to their intake, and those with significant damage by the age of 40 having smoke far less. It’s not a pleasant way to spend your later years, needing oxygen and struggling for breath like that. I’m very sorry for your loss, and for what she had to go through, too. Thank you for sharing this, Laura.xx

  13. June 10, 2020 / 12:35 pm

    Avoid starting smoking in the first place and you won’t have this problem, easy. 😀

  14. June 11, 2020 / 2:01 pm

    I think I’ve stopped for nearly 6 years now.

    • June 11, 2020 / 9:17 pm

      That’s fantastic, Jo, a huge achievement – I hope you feel better for it! xx

  15. June 12, 2020 / 4:10 am

    Such an important topic! Smoking is an addiction that is unlike many others. Some science suggests that its effects on the brain are more potent than heroine. I quit smoking about 5 years ago and can attest to this truth! But I can honestly say, I am SO grateful that I finally gave it up!

    A few suggestions I’d make to those looking to quit: A book by Allen Carr. “Easy Way to Stop Smoking.” There are a few editions of this same book. One is dedicated to women, others who are vaping or considering it, etc. Mine was one of the original versions and it still helped me tremendously. This book deals with the mental reasons behind smoking and why the willpower method simply doesn’t work.

    Another thing I did personally: I left several packs in the kitchen drawer. I didn’t put away ash trays or lighters right away, either. Why? It was a reminder that I wasn’t being ‘deprived.’ I was making a *choice* for my health. The brain can be tricky. It’s like reverse Psychology. If I tell you “don’t think about pink elephants….” — guess what? It’s going to be the #1 thing on your mind! When you know that you could smoke but choose not to – it doesn’t dominate the mind. Does that make it easy? Oh no! But it does make it a whole lot more manageable when the more intense cravings kick in.

    The worst thing about choosing a nicotine replacement such as prescription medications, patches, etc is that you have to come off of nicotine twice. The ‘drug’ is simply a replacement for smoking. After you kick one habit – your body has to adjust to not having another substance. That’s why I chose in my case to only suffer through one withdrawal instead. I knew once I was over the hump, I’d be done with it.

    Have a substitute already picked out for the hand/mouth fixation aspect of smoking. A huge chunk of quitting smoking isn’t about the smoke itself. It’s a trained reward receptor for hand to mouth, much like people who are addicted to food. I chose Tootsie roll pops because I had to work on them for awhile and they’re quite tasty! 😀 Chewing on straws, a tasty (and healthy snack!) or anything that helps the mind get distracted helps a ton. I tried to avoid food as much as possible though, because it’s too easy to substitute one addiction for another.

    I’ll not lie. There were some days when I was genuinely miserable, craving a smoke in the first 2 weeks. After that, it became easier and easier. I encourage everyone who wants to quit — I know how it feels…. but you really can do it!

    Sending all my love, Caz. Thanks for talking about such an important topic! ♥

    • June 12, 2020 / 10:07 am

      That’s the book I was thinking of when I added about self help tools. I got that book for my dad, and it helped when he temporarily stopped smoking (he picked it back up then has struggled since being on and off the wagon). It’s amazing that you quit and I do agree that there’s a lot more to why we smoke that means ‘just’ giving up isn’t that easy. It’s interesting to hear how you approached it, especially with leaving cigs and lighters around. This is precisely why I try to be cautious in giving suggestions because what works for one doesn’t work for another, and we have to find what suits us personally.

      I feel the same as you I think with nicotine replacement, I get a similar feeling with vaping. For me, smoking isn’t the nicotine anyway, it’s the habit and what it means to me, the chance to think or take a break being far greater a benefit than the nicotine or cigarette itself.

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience – it’s first hand account of quitting like this that can be so incredibly helpful. You rock, Holly! xx

  16. June 14, 2020 / 4:19 pm

    After I had my aneurysm rupture and I was talking to my neurosurgeon about causes and prevention and such, and he didn’t really have any suggestions for me, he said, “Well, if you smoked, I would tell you to quit smoking.” I don’t think I would have had any trouble finding my motivation after two weeks in the hospital … 😬

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