Top tips

Good preparation is the key to quitting successfully. Use the top tips to help you plan in advance and help prevent you from relapsing.

Planning to quit

75% of smokers would like to stop. Plan ahead to give yourself the best chance of quitting.

The first few days can be hard when you are trying to quit smoking. Things will get better after the third or fourth day so don't give up.

Nicotine withdrawal may make you restless, irritable or frustrated. These things will pass and you will quickly start to feel better.

Set a specific date on which you want to quit and stick to it. Let people know so they can support you in your quit attempt.

If you live with another person who smokes, it will make it easier if you try to quit together.

Don't switch to herbal cigarettes, you will just get all the tar but nothing to help you with the nicotine withdrawal.

Mild cigarettes are no better for you. You will actually drag on them harder as your body tries to get the same nicotine fix.

Don't just reduce the amount you smoke, aim to quit smoking completely and be determined that you can do it.

Giving up smoking is not easy. Nicotine is a powerful addictive substance but with planning, support and willpower you can quit.

You don't have to go cold turkey. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) can increase your chances of success. Speak to your pharmacist or GP about NRT.

Reasons to quit

With the money you save, why not treat yourself to a meal as your taste buds will have improved and you will enjoy your food more.

Think of the money you will save. Stopping a 20-a-day habit could save you around £280 a month. Think what you could treat yourself to with the extra cash.

Reward yourself. Do nice things or buy yourself something, like a cd or clothes, with the money you have saved.

Health is the biggest reason for quitting smoking. Quitting reduces your risk of 50 different illnesses. Think about why you are quitting – it will help you focus.

Tar in cigarettes is a harmful substance that can cause cancer. Stopping smoking will reduce the risk.

Write down the good things about being a non-smoker and the bad things about smoking. Weigh the two up against each other – it really helps.

Preventing relapse

In the first few days after quitting, drink lots of water and fluids to help flush out the nicotine and other poisons from your body.

Try to avoid alcohol, sugar and coffee for the first week or longer, as these tend to increase the desire for a cigarette.

On your quit day, hide your ashtrays and destroy all your cigarettes. Don't leave temptations in your way. Take away everything that reminds you of smoking.

Every time you want a cigarette, inhale the deepest lung-full of air you can, and then, very slowly, exhale.

Don't fall into the trap of having ‘just one’ cigarette. Be on your guard against temptation – one cigarette can easily lead to another.

Change your routine to avoid situations when you usually smoke, eg with a cup of coffee first thing in the morning or when you are on the phone.

If you smoke on your way to work, take a slightly different route to help change your routine.

Buy a new air freshener for your car to get rid of the smell of stale cigarettes.

Instead of smoking, use a stress ball as an alternative for something to do with your hands.

When you feel like smoking a cigarette, why not text a friend – it will help the craving to pass and take your mind off it.

Avoid eating fatty foods. In place of your cigarette, try something healthy such as fresh fruit or sugar-free gum.

Try to keep active. Change your normal routine – go for a walk or a swim, or do an activity you enjoy.

Try to avoid places where you would be with people smoking. That way, you will not be tempted.

If you relapse, find out why and how you can avoid it in the future. If you get through the same situation next time, you've become stronger.