Preparing to quit
Before you quit smoking, it’s a good idea to do a little preparation. It will really increase your chances of success if think through your motivations, the potential difficult times, any support you may have or what it is that you want to achieve by quitting.
The type of smoker you are should indicate whether or not it is advisable for you to use nicotine replacement therapy. You can find out whether you are an addicted smoker or a habitual smoker by going to our section on what kind of smoker are you?.
Understand your reasons for quitting.
You might be doing it for family, friends or a partner. But the chances are you’re doing it for yourself, because you know it’s time to move on and leave your smoking days behind. Ultimately you need the reasons clear in your head for the maximum chance of success. So write them down now and put them where you’ll see them every day. If you aren’t yet clear about your reasons for stopping, read the section on motivation.
When you quit there are going to be withdrawal symptoms. Knowing that these symptoms are temporary will help you tolerate them until they go away. However some symptoms you do not have to put up with, as there are ways of reducing them. For more information go to the section on handling withdrawal symptoms.
Avoid tempting situations.
Think about all the situations that usually lead you to smoke. Maybe it’s when you have coffee or after a meal, when you’re in the pub, or after sex. If you know where you'll be when you crave a cigarette, you can keep healthy snacks or sugar-free chewing gum on hand to keep the cravings at bay. Look at the advice in our section on beating nicotine cravings.
For the first few days after you give up, it’s a good idea to avoid tempting situations altogether. If you find smoking when you go to the pub or after you’ve had sex is the time when you most want to smoke, remember that this is only a temporary measure until your nicotine craving subsides.
Pick your day to give up. Make it an ordinary one when you don't have anything unusual happening. Make it sometime soon, but give yourself time to make preparations such as purchasing nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). If you join a smoking cessation group, you will be asked to quit on the third week.
Say goodbye to the past
Get rid of all your cigarettes, ashtrays, matches and lighters. Everything that will remind you of your old life as a smoker. No really. If you’ve just started a carton of 200 fags don’t hang on to them. You may have already paid for them, but a successful quit will save you much more than money in the end. Then give your home a really good clean to get rid of the smell of smoke.
Tell your family and friends
That way, they’ll be able to give you extra support. Having someone you can turn to when things get tough can help keep you motivated. This is one of the main benefits of joining a smoking cessation group.
Then think further ahead. Visualise yourself not smoking in everyday situations where you normally would, running through how you’ll cope with the temptation.
If you achieve all of these things you will have laid a lot of the groundwork for a successful quit, and are more likely to be able to stop smoking for good.