10 tips to help you quit

Many smokers don’t quit on their first attempt, needing several tries before they succeed. Don’t let this put you off - each attempt gets you closer to success. Here are our top tips to boost your chances of success. 

Quitting smoking improves our physical health and has also been proven to boost our mental health too. The sooner you stop smoking, the greater the health gains will be. If you’ve been thinking about quitting smoking but haven’t quite managed it yet, here are 10 things that will help you quit. 

Set a quit date 

Set a date for quitting that you’ll commit to and prepare for it as if it’s a big day. By setting a date for the day you’re going to quit, you give yourself the chance to build the confidence and skills you’ll need to stay smoke free. Make sure the day isn’t too far in the future, as this gives you a chance to change your mind. 

Create a smoke free environment 

Make your home completely smoke free. Get rid of anything to do with smoking, including ashtrays, lighters and cigarettes. Clean the house to get rid of the smell of smoke – you could even use this as an excuse to redecorate.  

If you live with smokers who aren’t ready to quit, make a commitment not to smoke inside. 

Think about where else you smoke. If you smoke in the car, do the same thing – remove anything to do with smoking, give it a clean inside and don’t let anyone smoke in the car. 

Change your daily routine 

Mix up your day-to-day life by changing your routines. Your morning routine has probably stayed the same for years, and if it involves having a cigarette you need to change your routine to break the association.  

It could be as simple as moving where your kettle is in the kitchen, so that when you go to make your morning coffee (a trigger for your morning cigarette) you’ll be reminded that you no longer smoke. 

Tell your friends and family 

Quitting is easier when the people in your life support you. Let friends and family know that you’re planning to quit, and let them know how they can help you. Tell them your reasons for quitting, ask them to check in with you and think of smoke free activities you can do together.  

Don’t be afraid of asking friends or family members who smoke to not smoke around you – it’s much harder to resist the temptation to light up if others around you are smoking. 

Think about why you’re quitting 

Before you actually quit, it’s important to know why you’re doing it. Do you want to be healthier? Save money? Keep your family safe? 

If you’re not sure, ask yourself some questions: 


      • What do I dislike about smoking? 

      • What do I miss out on when I smoke? 

      • How will my life get better when I quit? 

      • How is smoking affecting me and those around me? 

    When you’ve figured out your reasons for quitting, write it down and keep it on the fridge or on a note in your phone for a regular reminder. 

    Keep a savings pot 

    Smoking costs a lot, and for many the thought of saving money is a great motivator to quit. But how much will you save? Open a savings account and set up a direct debit to transfer what you’d usually spend on cigarettes, or keep money in a jar for a visual reminder of how much you’re saving.  

    The average smoker saves £36 a week by stopping smoking. What will you do with the savings you’re making?  

    Download the free NHS quit smoking app 

    The free NHS quit smoking app can help you quit by providing daily support and motivation. Track your progress with the savings calculator to see how much money you’re saving, and earn badges to reward your progress. Find it on the app store by searching for ‘NHS quit smoking’.  

    Track your progress 

    If you’ve got a physical calendar, put a big red cross on it for every day you’re smoke free. If you don’t have a calendar, pick up a cheap one or print a blank calendar from the internet – seeing the red crosses build up is a great motivator!  

    Do regular exercise 

    It’s been shown that exercise is a great way to manage cravings for several reasons. It reduces the urge to smoke, dampens withdrawal symptoms, can help you cope with stress better, and above all else it will distract you from thinking about smoking. Do something you enjoy that gets your heart beating faster – whether that’s a brisk walk, online exercise or swimming. 

    Find a way to deal with cravings 

    During withdrawal, your body is going to want nicotine. You might be tempted to smoke to relieve these feelings, but that’s the worst thing you could do. Remember that cravings are temporary, no matter how powerful they feel.   

    One of the best ways to deal with cravings is with stop smoking medication such as nicotine replacement theory, but you should also keep in mind the four Ds of managing cravings: 


        • Delay. Wait a few minutes before reaching for a cigarette. The urge will pass. 

        • Deep breath. Take three slow, deep breaths. This imitates smoking and will calm you. 

        • Drink. Carry a water bottle with you and sip it slowly when you get a craving. 

        • Distract. Look for something else to do to take your mind off smoking. 


      If you’re looking for support to help you quit, Thriving Nottingham’s free quit smoking programme can help. Take the first step towards a smoke-free life today.