Think carefully about;

  • why you smoke
  • what situations are likely to trigger a relapse
  • why are you quitting
  • will you use medication to help you quit
  • what support will you need?

Thinking about all of these factors and planning ahead will make you much more likely to succeed in your quit attempt. This includes choosing and working towards a specific quit date.

There’s no perfect time to quit, but choosing a time when you will not be under any other pressure or dealing with any extra stress will help to get your quit attempt off to the best possible start. Some people find it easier to stop smoking if they are away from their usual routine, such as when they are on holiday.

What every date you pick, mark it on your calendar and stick to it.


Nicotine is addictive and, for most smokers, willpower alone is not enough to successfully quit. You will give yourself a much better chance of success if you use medication. This will be much more effective if you use it in conjunction with other support services.

If you are planning on using medication to help you stop smoking, it is important to speak to your doctor to make sure it is safe to use with any other medication you may be taking.

  • Medication
  • Local help and support

Focus on the benefits

Most smokers find quitting quite difficult and many will have to make several quit attempts before they successfully give up smoking permanently. In order to succeed in your quit attempt, you will have to stay motivated and keep up your enthusiasm for giving up cigarettes.

One thing that will help you to do this is focusing on the benefits of quitting and what you will gain by giving cigarettes up.

These benefits can include;

  • your health and appearance
  • saving money
  • giving a new baby the best possible start

Take a look at our ‘Why Quit?’ section for more information on the benefits of stopping smoking.

Withdrawal symptoms

Nicotine is an addictive substance. Withdrawing from any addictive drug can cause side effects. If you know what to expect, you can prepare for the withdrawal phase, which should not last more than four weeks.


Duration: Less than four weeks

Percentage of smokers affected: 50%

Tips for management:

  • NRT, Champix or Zyban
  • Warn friends and family in advance
  • Physical activity
  • Avoid potential conflict situations


Duration: Less than four weeks

Percentage of smokers affected: 60%

Tips for management:

  • Reward yourself
  • Speak to supportive friends and family
  • NRT

Reduced concentration

Duration: Approximately two weeks

Percentage of smokers affected: 60%

Tips for management:

  • NRT, Champix or Zyban

Disturbed sleep

Duration: Less than one week

Percentage of smokers affected: 25%

Tips for management:

  • Physical activity
  • Avoid products with caffeine

Urges to smoke

Duration: Stronger for the first two weeks, then becoming weaker

Percentage of smokers affected: 70%

Tips for management:

  • NRT, Champix or Zyban
  • Identify your smoking triggers and avoid them
  • Change your routine
  • Distract yourself

Increased appetite

Duration: Four weeks (longer in some cases)

Percentage of smokers affected: 70%

Tips for management:

  • Eat healthy foods and snacks
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Regular physical activity
  • NRT, Champix or Zyban

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