What’s the best way to stop smoking?

Many people successfully quit smoking – with and without assistance – but there is no ‘best way’ to quit smoking.

Most people will quit several times – sometimes many times – using different strategies, before they eventually quit for good.

If you are thinking about stopping, here are some ideas:

  • If you feel like you may need some extra help, talk to your local Aboriginal health service about what’s involved.
  • Find out whether one of the proven pharmaceutical treatments would be right for you – they could increase your chances of success.
  • Get your friends and family involved so they can give you moral support.
  • Just go for it, however you decide to quit!

Is it a good idea to cut down gradually before finally quitting?

Some people do manage to cut down the number of cigarettes they smoke as a lead up to quitting but this is not a recommended strategy. What usually happens is that people smoke more intensively, taking more and deeper puffs on each cigarette in order to get the level of nicotine that they are used to.

A popular way to quit is to set a date and make a clean break. You can use nicotine replacement products or Champix to overcome the cravings associated with nicotine withdrawal.

What is nicotine replacement therapy?

Nicotine replacement therapy is the collective name for a range of products containing small amounts of nicotine that are designed to help people stop smoking. These include nicotine gum, patches, inhalers and lozenges. They work by releasing nicotine slowly into the bloodstream and help to counter the cravings that smokers commonly experience when they stop smoking. Not having to deal with intense physical cravings for nicotine may give people the opportunity to deal with the habits and emotions that become strongly associated with smoking.

How does Champix work and is it safe?

Champix is a medication that works on the nicotine receptors in the brain. Its action reduces the cravings for nicotine and blocks the pleasurable effects of smoking.  This medicine helps many people give up smoking, but it may haveunwanted side effects in a few people. All medicines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time they are not.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist to answer any questions you may have about Champix.

Will hypnotherapy and acupuncture help me to quit?

Some people find treatments such as hypnotherapy and acupuncture helpful as an aid to quitting smoking. However, there is no clinical evidence of their effectiveness. If you decide to try these treatments, check that the person offering the treatment is a registered practitioner and be wary of claims of high success rates. Even the very best treatment programs rarely achieve success rates of more than 30%, so anything above this should be treated with caution.

What can be done about putting on weight?

When you quit smoking it’s common to gain a little weight. But it’s okay, there are ways to manage weight gain. There are steps you can take to maintain a healthy weight and help you feel better about your body. Click here to find out more.

Why do people cough more when they have stopped smoking?

Firstly, this is good news! Coughing more means that the tiny, little hairs in the lungs (which are your body’s cleaning system) haven’t been killed off and are now starting to work again. They have come out of paralysis and are starting to clean lungs of the tar that has built up there while the person has been smoking. This process shouldn’t last too long. It is a sign of the body repairing itself so view it as a positive.

What health benefits can be expected from stopping smoking?

In the short term, after 20 minutes the blood pressure and pulse return to normal, after 24 hours carbon monoxide is eliminated from the body, and after 48 hours there is no nicotine left in the body. Longer term, in 2-12 weeks, circulation will improve and after 3-9 months coughs, wheezing and breathing improve as lung function increases. Stopping smoking reduces the risk of lung cancer, other cancers, heart attack, stroke and chronic lung disease.

Some of my friends and family are smokers. What should I do when I’m with them?

Tell them that you are quitting, ask them to respect your resolve to quit and ask for their support. Specifically, you could ask them not to smoke and not to offer you cigarettes or leave cigarettes around you.

What kinds of activities can I do when I feel the urge to smoke?

Try talking with someone, going for a walk, drinking water, or occupying yourself with a task. Reduce your stress by taking a hot bath, exercising, or reading a book.

How can I change my daily routine (eg smoking a cigarette with breakfast)?

When you are quitting or planning to quit, think about how you might change your routines that are linked strongly to smoking. Perhaps try eating breakfast in a different place, drinking tea instead of coffee, or taking a different route to work.

I like to smoke when I have a drink. Do I have to give up both?

Some people choose to avoid drinking alcohol when quitting and in the early stages of maintaining their non-smoking identity because drinking can lower their resolve to quit or stay quit.


Quit and enjoy quality time together.

Why quit?