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How to Quit Smoking

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Listed below is a plan on how to quit smoking. The plan details the quitting options, products to help you quit, lets you select a date, provides information to understand withdrawl and helps you put it all into a plan to quit smoking.

Quitting Options

Any approach you choose can be combined with other support such as calling a Quitline or an Online Community.

You can get some help in planning and how to quit smoking by calling the 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848). The Smoke Free is also available for information on how to quit smoking specific to your State at 1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669/TTY 1-800-332-8615).

Cold Turkey

You could go cold turkey, which means stopping completely and suddenly without cutting down. For many people this is a successful method.

Cut Down

You could cut down by reducing gradually to 5 cigarettes a day, going on half rations or delaying your first cigarette by an hour each day. If you choose to cut down make sure your quit date is set for 2 weeks after you start reducing your smoking. On your quit date cut out all cigarettes together.


You can use quit smoking products to help you quit.

Quitting in a Group

You could quit with a group and get support from others enduring the same challenge. The Cancer Council Western Australia's Fresh Start course is a group program that provides information, resources and support to smokers who want help to quit. To join this course contact the Cancer Helpline on 13 11 20.

Find a Quitting Partner

Set a quit date with a friend or work mate and plan to quit together is a good way how to quit smoking.

Get Help From Family and Friends

Tell your family and friends about your plan to quit, and explain how they can help and encourage you. Look at your Smoking Diary and check whether any of your family and friends actually influences you wanting to smoke. It may be best to simply avoid the subject with them.

Visit Your Doctor
Chemicals in cigarettes change the way some medications work, so seeing a doctor to learn how to quit smoking is a good idea. Remember to see your doctor before quitting if you are taking any medication. We know that stopping smoking can be stressful. So if you have suffered from depression, anxiety or other mental illness, ask your doctor's advice before quitting. You should also visit your doctor if you have asthma, diabetes or any other health problems or would like more advice about your plan to quit. Your doctor might recommend using a quitting product, or want to see you for regular checks and discussions.

» Products to help you quit.

Set a date

It's important to set a specific date when you plan to stop smoking and stick to it.

Unless there is a very good reason, make this date two weeks from now. Some people find it best to select a day when they will be kept busy, but avoiding a day that could be stressful.

The first few days can be the toughest. Choosing a day after the weekend is a good idea, so that you are not tempted to smoke when out socialising or having a drink.

You may find you are not ready to quit now. If you have other pressures over the next few weeks it may not be the best time. However, it is important for you to have the confidence and commitment to quit to avoid making excuses and putting off a quit date.

If you are going to use a product to help you quit, you'll need to consider this when selecting your quit date and ensure you have it ready in time. Nicotine Replacement Therapy, for example, should begin on your quit date.

The eQuitWA Program will help you prepare and stay quit. The program will start 2 weeks before your quit date and will continue for up to 12 weeks. If you have registered but would like to quit in less than two weeks, you can still join the program. You may, however, find giving yourself more time to prepare will prove helpful.

If you haven't set a quit date you can still register, and you will receive further email support once this is done.

Understanding withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms are the way your body reacts when it stops getting nicotine and all the other chemicals in tobacco smoke. Think of these as recovery symptoms.

Some recovery symptoms will come and go over a period of a few days, and most are gone within two to four weeks. The emotional symptoms - such as irritability or frustration - are closely tied to the physical reaction of your body as the nicotine leaves your system.

Common Recovery Symptoms Include:

  • Cravings - Each one lasts a short time, but may be strong. Over time, cravings will happen less often.
  • Feelings of irritability, frustration depression or anxiety.
  • Feelings of restlessness and/or difficulty concentrating.
  • Changed sleeping patterns.
  • Increase in appetite and weight gain.

Some People Also Report:

  • Coughing, sneezing or sore throat.
  • Mouth ulcers.
  • Upset digestion, constipation or diarrhoea.
  • Headache, earache, deafness or feeling off-colour.

Usually, you won't have all these symptoms, and those that do affect you will only be temporary.

Create a Planning Checklist

Quitting doesn't just happen - you MAKE it happen. To help you, we've prepared a quit smoking plan that acts as a checklsit to help you be smoke free. As you complete them, check off the steps you have taken to becoming smoke-free.

You can print out the checklist as a permanent reminder of YOUR plan to quit.

Choose an approach that will work for you. Any approach can be combined with other support such as calling the Quitline or quitting products. Consider your quitting options.

Planning gives you a greater chance of successfully quitting smoking. Complete the following checklist to identify a number of strategies that you will use to stop smoking. Put it on your fridge to keep you on track. If you are a member it can be sent to you via email. Click here to complete your quit smoking plan checklist.

Site Resources

Uses these resources that help you plan and successfully quit smoking.

Check out our Quit Smoking Tips to help get you started.

Quit Smoking Tips »