Top tips for going smoke free

You’ve decided to quit smoking, smoked your last cigarette and are ready for a healthier future. Be proud! Here are our top tips for going smoke free.

Most people who quit smoking find it difficult at some point or another. Cravings for cigarettes can be powerful, and smoking is often a deeply ingrained habit that can be difficult to shake. Here are some tips to make sure you have the best chances of quitting for good. 


If you’re experiencing a craving and feel like you’re going to give in, tell yourself you must wait 10 minutes. In these 10 minutes, do something that’ll distract you. This might be enough to derail your craving. You can repeat this as often as you need. 

Avoid ‘just one’ 

You might be tempted to have just one cigarette. But don’t fool yourself into thinking you can stop at ‘just one’. More often than not, having one leads to another, then another, and you could wind up smoking regularly again.  

Having ‘just one’ gives you permission to keep smoking. It might feel difficult to get through a craving but giving in is not the answer – the craving will pass, and each time you resist is a step closer to stopping smoking for good. 

Avoid triggers 

Urges to smoke are likely to be strongest in the situations where you smoked most often, like at the pub, while watching TV or in the car. Identify your trigger situations and avoid them if you can. For example, if you used to enjoy going to the smoking area at the pub with friends and lighting up, it’s probably best to avoid that area for now.  

Get physical 

Physical activity can help distract you from cravings and reduce their intensity. Just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity can make a craving go away, so get out for a walk or a jog.  

If you’re stuck at home or at the office, try doing some squats, deep knee bends, running on the spot or walking up and down the stairs a few times. If physical activity doesn’t interest you, do something else physical like journaling, needlework, woodwork or knitting. Still not interested? Do some chores, like vacuuming or washing the dishes – you’ll distract yourself and end up with a clean home, win win. 

Practice relaxation techniques 

In the past, smoking may have been your way of dealing with stress. Trying to resist a craving can be stressful in itself, so it’s important to have healthy ways of dealing with stress. Take the edge off by practicing relaxation techniques, like deep breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, yoga, visualisation, hypnosis, and massage. 

Get support 

Touch base with a family member, friend, or support group for moral support. Chat on the phone, go for a walk together or message back and forth. It doesn’t need to be anything deep and personal either, just sharing a few laughs can go a long way. 

Remember why you’re doing it 

Write down or say out loud the reasons you want to stop smoking. These might include feeling better, getting healthier, sparing your loved ones from second hand smoke, or saving money.  

Use your medication 

Stop smoking medication and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) aids like nicotine patches and gum are great ways to help you stop smoking. You’re much more likely to successfully quit if you’re using medication or NRT to help you, so don’t be afraid to see your GP for support. 


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.