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Getting ready

Set a quit date

  • Pick a date within the next two weeks.
    • This gives you enough time to prepare but ensures you won't lose your motivation to quit.
  • Choose an easy day to stop smoking.
    •  One when you won’t be under much pressure and will have plenty to occupy you.
  • Stick to your Quit date.
    •  If you have to change it set a new date straight away.
  • Get rid of cigarettes the night before.
    • If you have some left in the house, destroy them – drown them in the sink. If you really want a cigarette you’ll at least have to go to the shop to buy some. This leaves more time to talk yourself out of it.
  • If you live with a smoker, talk to them about quitting.
    • It can help to tell them about your plans and get their support.
  • Plan your quit day.
    • What will you do first thing in the morning? Make sure you have water and healthy snacks on hand. If you plan to exercise more, make sure your equipment is ready: e.g. check there is air in your bike tyres if you plan to ride your bike; or if you plan to go for a walk, make sure you’ve got your walking shoes ready.

Practise quitting

Once you have a quit date, set smaller goals and practise for the real thing:

  • Experiment by not smoking at times when you normally would, such as at the pub, smoking breaks at work, or with your morning coffee.
  • Try a new time-out routine that involves going to a different place to where you used to smoke. Adjust it so that by the time you hit your quit day, you know what to do if you’re feeling stressed.
  • Make your home and car smokefree.
  • Separate smoking from pleasant activities like sipping warm drinks, sitting down, TV, socialising. Some people go as far as standing near the rubbish bins to smoke (let the cigarette know that it’s on the way out).
  • Try holding the cigarette between different fingers or in a different hand when you smoke.
  • Decide to refuse all offers of cigarettes from others.
  • Don't carry a lighter with you.

Try a smokefree day

Sometimes setting a quit date can seem daunting. Some prefer to try a smokefree day before their quit day as a way of dipping the toe in. Many people end up quitting at the end of a smokefree day.

Healthy eating

Regular exercise and a healthy diet is the best preparation for managing weight gain while quitting. A good way to prepare for quitting, if you’re concerned about weight gain, is to do a quitting shop in the days before your quit day. Regular snacking doesn’t have to be unhealthy if you choose the right foods. Buy lots of healthy snacks: fruit and vegetables, carrot sticks, rice cakes, sugarless gum or bottled water. Make sure you’re stocked up before your quit day. To read more go to managing your weight.


Set a quit date

Click into the box below to set your quit date. You can add the date to your calendar or get an email reminder...



Real life stories

80's smoker

I've been smoking since I was very young -  5 a day for the past 10 years and I'm still struggling to quit. It makes it harder when there's people around you who smoke, but I will keep trying...

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