Why do you smoke?

Smoking helps me cope with stress

Nicotine is a stimulant and it only seems to make you feel calm because you are addicted to it. When your nicotine levels fall, you feel edgy because of the withdrawal effects.

Smoking boosts your nicotine levels and this relieves the withdrawal, making you feel less stressed. What feels like stress is actually caused by a craving.

I’m worried about withdrawal symptoms

When you stop smoking, you are withdrawing from nicotine and from a powerful habit. It takes time to clear the drug out of your body and break the habit.

You may get irritated and find it difficult to concentrate but these symptoms last no longer than a few weeks. As time goes on, these cravings get weaker and further apart. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can help you through this stage – see the section on cessation aids for details.

I don’t want to put on weight

Some people may put on weight but this can be avoided or limited by healthy eating and physical activity. Stopping smoking will make you feel fitter so exercise shouldn’t be as difficult.

It's too late – the damage is probably done

The risk from smoking builds up, so the sooner you stop the better. Within weeks, you will be breathing more easily. The risk of serious diseases starts to reduce once you stop and this reduction continues for years – as long as you don’t smoke.

This isn’t the right time

There are times when it may be harder to stop – for example when you’re under particular stress. But it’s easy to use this as an excuse and it might help to stay focused on the reasons why you want to give up.

I haven’t got the willpower

Willpower is not fixed. It’s like muscle power – you can build it up. Willpower just means wanting something badly enough. There are now lots of aids available to help you quit so you don’t have to rely on willpower alone.

It’s a habit

It might be useful to change your routine to help you break the habit. Don’t go outside with others who smoke. Keep yourself busy by taking up a hobby or new activity that’s not associated with smoking.