Staying stopped

It can take several months to become a non-smoker. The physical and mental withdrawal symptoms in the first few days can be very hard to cope with, but they’ll improve every day that you don’t smoke. Take things one day at a time. The following suggestions can help:

  • Choose to spend time with non-smokers and ex-smokers who will support your efforts to quit. You can join a local support group – your nearest NHS Stop Smoking Service can provide you with details of groups in your area.
  • Replace smoking with other activities that you enjoy.
  • Remind yourself of your reasons for giving up. Carry the checklist of your reasons for stopping smoking with you, so you can refer to it if you need to. Quitting is a commitment that you have made to yourself and, while it requires strong willpower, it has huge benefits.
  • Mark off the days since you first stopped on your calendar, so you can see how well you’re doing.
  • Reward yourself. Use the money you would have spent on smoking to buy yourself something you’ll enjoy. You might want to use some of the money to buy little treats each week, like DVDs, going for a nice meal or having 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. If you are using NRT it’s a good idea to keep some gum, lozenges or spray handy for social situations where you might be tempted. Make a deliberate effort to avoid the shops where you used to buy your cigarettes.
  • Don’t give up trying to stop smoking, even if you don’t succeed the first time. Most people need several attempts before they stop completely. Remember that giving up smoking is hard enough for most people. But when you’re giving up after a cancer experience it can seem even tougher. You may have side effects to cope with, or other worries caused by the cancer or its treatment – for example problems with work, money or relationships. So 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

Reasons to quit

Whether you’re living with or after cancer, giving up smoking has important health benefits.

Preparing to stop

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

Reducing the cravings

There are several medicines you can use to reduce cravings and help you give up smoking.