Shake the Smoking Habit

When you decide it’s time to stop smoking, we recommend that the first thing you do is write out a list of reasons why you’re quitting.

Your next step is to set a quit date that isn’t too far away to avoid being tempted to change your mind. If you tend to smoke at work plan to quit on a weekend to give yourself time to adjust. Then you need to decide which quitting method suits you best. Are you going to slowly decrease your smoking habits leading up to your quit date? Or are you going to smoke up until your date and then quit? 

Prepping to Quit

Leading up to your quit date it’s helpful to keep a craving journal. Here you can list your craving times and intensity, what triggered you, what you were doing, who you were with and how you feel before and after smoking. If relevant, it’s also helpful to write a list of what worked and what didn’t the last time you tried to quit. One of the best things you can do in preparation for your quit date is find out what triggers you to smoke such as feelings, circumstances and people and try break this association. 


  • Find healthy ways to deal with feelings of boredom, anxiety, depression, loneliness or stress.
  • Instead of feeling deprived, focus on the health and financial benefits you will enjoy as a non smoker.
  • Remember how you felt as a smoker and the reasons you chose to quit by referring back to your list for encouragement during tough times. 


  • Throw out ashtrays, lighters, matches and cigarettes.
  • Wash things that smell of smoke, like your clothes, home or car.
  • Avoid situations where others are smoking such as bars and clubs. Consuming too much alcohol might also tempt you to relapse.
  • Get cigarette substitutes like sugarless gum, coffee stirrers, toothpicks, carrot or celery sticks, hard candy or sunflower seeds.


  • Ask your peers and family to refrain from smoking around you.
  • Sign up for a stop-smoking group.
  • Find a quit buddy.
  • Find someone who was once a smoker and can support you.
  • Tell the people you love about your quit date.
  • Decide between getting through this process independently or with the help of a nicotine replacement or medicine.

Quit Day

Shortly after quitting you’ll begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. These can include things like anxiety, chest tightness, headaches, insomnia, a sore throat and coughing, frustration, a lack of concentration, hunger, tremors, fatigue, constipation or an upset stomach. Your first 2-3 days will be the toughest, but symptoms will improve day by day and generally disappear by day 14. In the meantime, here are some tips to curbing your cravings.
  • Sip on water to flush the nicotine out your system and avoid unhealthy snacking.
  • Wait 3-5 minutes and your cravings should pass.
  • Distract yourself by chatting, taking a walk to exercise you lungs, keeping your hands and mind busy, going somewhere you can’t smoke, doing relaxation exercises, brushing your teeth or playing a game on your phone.
  • Breathe in through your nose for 3 seconds and out through your mouth for 3 seconds.
  • Reward yourself for being strong.

If you do have a wobbly and give in to the temptation of a smoke,  the most important thing you can do is to see it as a lesson or motivation and not a full-blown relapse. Figure out what triggered you and how you can avoid it next time, read your list to remind yourself why you chose to quit in the first place and, if you bought cigarettes, throw out the rest of your pack, because the sooner you’re back on track the better. Remember, it’s a journey, but you have it in you to make it to the end. 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is provided by the SPAR Group Ltd for general information purposes only. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.