Worried about quitting smoking?
Here are some common concerns we hear from people who are thinking about quitting.
“But I can’t go more than a few hours without a cigarette.”
If you have a physical dependence on nicotine, you may experience stronger cravings and withdrawal symptoms when the nicotine wears off.
If you have your first cigarette within 5 minutes of waking up, find it difficult to make it through a work break, movie or plane trip without smoking; and/or continue to smoke even if you are sick, you probably have a medium-high level of dependence on nicotine.
Take this quick quiz to find out.
Although quitting can be difficult, it is achievable. There are now more ex-smokers in WA than there are smokers, which is proof that you can overcome nicotine dependence.
“When I quit I feel worse than when I smoked”
After quitting smoking, withdrawal symptoms are fairly common, but it’s important to remember they are only temporary. People will often start to cough up phlegm, mucus and tar leftover in their lungs from cigarette smoke. This can be unpleasant, but it is a sign that the lungs are cleaning themselves out and are ready to recover. Some people may experience flu-like symptoms, dizziness, tiredness or breathlessness. Other people feel angry, restless or stressed while they adjust to life without smoking.
Remember to reward yourself along the way! It's a way to give yourself something to look forward to and can help to distract from cravings. Go out to dinner, buy a new book, see a show or catch a game – whatever makes you happy.
“Quitting products are too expensive”
It is possible to quit smoking without spending any money. However, NRT products and quitting medications can make it easier for people experiencing strong withdrawal symptoms. Getting a prescription from a doctor or buying products on special from your pharmacy can mean you are paying less than $1.50/day for certain NRT products. This is similar to the average cost of a single cigarette.
Besides, you'll save much more money in the long-term once you quit.
Quantity per day
Cost per day
$1.49 (on average)
$1.46 (see PBS price here and check your local pharmacy for more prices)
Medication e.g. varenicline
Refer to doctor
$1.46 (based on 3 prescriptions over 12 weeks, see your GP or pharmacist)
“It’s too late for me, the damage is done.”
It is never too late to quit smoking.
Quitting will reduce your risk of many different types of cancer, and cardiovascular and lung diseases. Even people who already have a smoking-related illness can benefit from quitting. Some of the benefits of quitting include:
- Reduced risk of poor outcomes during and post-surgery.
- It's the only intervention that can slow down lung damage from COPD (read more breathtaking facts about COPD here).
- Even if you already have a cancer diagnosis, it can improve your treatment outcomes, including your body’s ability to heal and respond to therapy.
“I tried to quit and I put on weight.”
Some people gain weight when they quit as a result of replacing smokes with junk food or overeating. The hand-to-mouth action from years of smoking can be difficult to break, but chewing on healthy snacks, a toothpick or sugar-free gum can help you stay healthy.
Exercise can also be an effective way to distract yourself from cravings and help you avoid putting on weight while quitting.
Check out the LiveLighter website for healthy recipes, exercise guides and workouts.
“I don’t think I can quit. I’ve tried everything.”
If you have already tried quitting and gone back to smoking, you might feel nervous about trying again. Most people need to make several attempts before they quit for good, so don't be too hard on yourself. Discovering your triggers and figuring out the best ways to beat your cravings is a learning process.
Need inspiration for new ways to quit? Check out these blogs.
“I’ve recently quit and I’m struggling, how can I stay on track?”
Each craving only lasts a short amount of time, so a great way to push through the urge to smoke is to distract yourself.
Here are some simple tips for getting through cravings.
- Enjoy healthy snacks like carrot, celery, or a piece of fruit (check out the LiveLighter website for more ideas)
- Drink plenty of water (carry a bottle with you)
- Take some deep breaths
- Keep your hands and mouth occupied (e.g. play with a stress ball, chew a straw, gum or mints)
- Catch up with a friend
- Do something physical (e.g. walk the dog or join a gym)
- Listen to music
See yourself as a non-smoker
As soon as you have had your last cigarette, call yourself a non-smoker. By doing this, you begin to think and feel like a non-smoker. It can influence not just how you see yourself, but also how other people see you.
If someone offers you a cigarette, say “No thanks, I don’t smoke.” This confirms to you and to those around you that you are a non-smoker.
Change your routines
If you have an emotional or habitual dependency on cigarettes, it’s important to change your routines. Do you always smoke when you drink beer or coffee? How about with certain friends? Do you use smoking as a way to relax?
Plan ways to change or break these habits to give yourself a better chance at quitting for good.
Quitting smoking is a huge achievement, so be sure to reward yourself along the way with the money you have been saving. Use our savings calculator to see how much extra cash you'll have in your back pocket.
There are many ways to combat withdrawal symptoms, so it's important to find what works for you.