Staying a non-smoker

It can take a few months to feel confident as a non-smoker. The physical and mental withdrawal symptoms in the first few days can be very hard to cope with, but they will improve every day. Try to take things one day at a time. 

The following suggestions can help:

  • Choose to spend time with non-smokers and ex-smokers. They will support your efforts to quit. You can join a local support group – your nearest stop smoking service can provide you with details of groups in your area.
  • Replace smoking with other activities that you enjoy. This could be something creative like painting, or something active like walking.
  • Remind yourself of your reasons for stopping. Carry your list of reasons for stopping smoking with you, so you can refer to it if you need to. Stopping smoking is a commitment that you have made to yourself. You will need a lot of self-control, but you will benefit a huge amount from stopping.
  • Mark off the days since you stopped on your calendar. It will help show you how well you are doing.
  • Reward yourself. Use the money you would have spent on smoking to buy yourself something you will enjoy. You might want to use some of the money to buy little treats each week, like a nice meal or a massage. You might also want to save towards a bigger reward, like a special night out or a holiday.
  • Be aware of temptations to smoke. Make a deliberate effort to avoid the shops where you used to buy your cigarettes. If you are using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), it's a good idea to keep some gum, lozenges or spray handy for social situations where you might be tempted.
  • Don’t stop trying. If you don’t succeed in giving up smoking the first time you try, keep trying. Most people try a few times before they stop completely.

Remember that giving up smoking is hard enough for most people. But when you are coping with cancer too, it can seem even tougher. You may have side effects to cope with, or have other worries caused by the cancer or its treatment – for example, problems with work, money or relationships. Don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t go smoothly at first. Try to get as much support as possible.

Back to Giving up smoking

Preparing to stop smoking

Giving up smoking can be challenging. There are several things you can do that will help you quit.

Stopping smoking

There are things that can help you cope with some of the problems you might face in the first few weeks of stopping smoking.