In this section
Many smokers need to practise quitting several times before they give up for good. The best advice is to keep trying. Practice helps smokers plan what to do the next time they get an urge to smoke.
Approaches to quitting
This means stopping smoking completely, without using any form of help. The research shows that you are more likely to quit successfully if you seek support and try nicotine replacement therapy or other medications.
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and other medications
Using nicotine gum, patches, lozenges, tablets or inhalers is shown to be useful for many smokers. Your doctor or pharmacist will explain how to use these products. There are also non-nicotine medications, such as Champix and Zyban, available to help people quit. Some products are available at a reduced cost on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Speak to your doctor about obtaining a prescription for the right product for you.
While there is often interest in herbal remedies, spiritual healing or other alternative therapies, there is insufficient evidence on the effectiveness of these methods for quitting.
- Choose a method that is safe, effective and suits you.
- Be wary of methods or products that promise success without you having to do anything or that make exaggerated claims of success rates.
- Nicotine is highly addictive and while various products can assist a person to quit smoking, there is no easy fix.
Coping with withdrawal symptoms
The first few days of quitting can be the hardest, as you may feel tired, irritable and tense. Few people quit without experiencing cravings but over time, these symptoms will disappear. Make a plan for how you will cope in tricky situations after you have quit and think about using one of the nicotine replacement products available to help reduce withdrawal symptoms.
More information and support
If you are pregnant and wish to quit smoking, ask your health professional, the Quitline or the Cancer Council Helpline about our Baby and You resource. Baby and You is a support guide to help pregnant women quit smoking. Baby and You is available from hospitals, maternity care centres, GPs and other community-based maternal and child health services.