Coping with quitting and staying smoke-free

Learn how to cope with the cravings and withdrawal symptoms you experience when quitting smoking. Use your quit plan and get support to help you stay smoke-free. Find out how to overcome setbacks and get back on track.

If at first you don't succeed ...

For some people, it may take several attempts to quit successfully. If you’re one of those people, don’t despair, keep at it.

These strategies may help you when you try again.

Dealing with withdrawal

Nicotine is a drug and when you stop smoking you will experience withdrawal symptoms. These are different for every person, but are not dangerous and usually decrease with time.

Read our tips for dealing with common withdrawal symptoms.

Dealing with cravings

Few smokers can quit without feeling the urge to smoke. The first week can be the hardest as cravings can be frequent and intense.

Identifying your triggers — what makes you smoke — can help you plan how to deal with them.

Try the 4 Ds when you have a craving:

  • Delay acting on the urge to smoke — after a few minutes the craving will decrease
  • Deep breathe — take 3 long slow breaths
  • Distract yourself — take your mind off smoking by listening to music, going for a walk, chatting to a friend, using the My QuitBuddy app
  • Drink water — sip it slowly and savour the taste

Returning to your quit plan

If you're struggling and finding it hard to resist the temptation to smoke, it's a good idea to go back to your quit plan.

Remind yourself why you're doing this and use your strategies to deal with cravings and withdrawal.

Getting support

Having a good support network is a great way to increase your chances of quitting and staying smoke-free. You can get support through:

Overcoming setbacks

If you have a cigarette

It's hard to quit smoking, especially if you've been smoking for a long time. If you slip up and have a smoke, don't be hard on yourself — it's not the end of the world and it doesn't mean you won't be able to quit.

Focus on your success, rather than your failure. For example, remind yourself how long you've gone without smoking.

If you start smoking again

Don't despair. Plan another date to quit as soon as possible. Most people who have quit smoking for good have made several serious attempts. It may take you a while to learn to be a non-smoker.

Although you may be feeling disappointed, you should take pride in what you have achieved. Every day you spent smoke-free made your body healthier and helped to break your habit and weaken your addiction.

Did you know?

The Quit website has some great tips to help you stick with quitting.

Date last updated:

Help us improve

If you would like a response please use the enquiries form instead.