I've decided to quit smoking. What's the first thing I should do?
It's a good idea to visit your GP or call the Quit line. 13 QUIT (13 7848).
Talking it through with someone will help you build motivation, prepare for quitting, choose a quitting product or method and help you stay on track once you've quit.
What is Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)?
Nicotine Replacement Therapy is the collective name for a range of products which deliver nicotine to the body and help counter withdrawals and strong cravings. Current NRT products available are nicotine gum, patches, inhalers, mouth spray and lozenges. Some NRT products are available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), which are subsidised for a 12 week course of treatment. To purchase the subsidised NRT you will need a prescription from a GP. You can claim up to $100 back on NRT through the Commit to Quit University of Tasmania subsidy.
What is Quitting Medication?
Varenicline (Champix) and Burproprion (Zyban) are prescription medications designed to reduce withdrawal symptoms and the desire to smoke. Champix is a 12 week course, and Zyban is a 9 week course. Like some NRT products, Champix and Zyban are also available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) at a subsidised rate.
How do I know which NRT or quitting medication is right for me?
Your GP, pharmacist or the Quitline 13 QUIT (13 7848) are the best people to give you advice on whether NRT or quitting medication would be beneficial and, if so, which one.
I want to quit smoking but I can't afford to get assistance?
The University will assist you by providing a subsidy of up to $100. Further information available on Quitting Support Subsidy for Staff and Students
What if I'm not addicted to nicotine?
If you smoke less than 10 cigarettes per day, the desire to smoke may be more related to habits, routines and stress rather than physical addiction to nicotine. To find out the reasons why you smoke, take the Quit Tasmania 1-minute smoking quiz.
Should I cut down gradually or stop completely?
Some people manage to cut down and quit completely but quitting completely tends to be more successful. The best way is to set a date and make a clean break. Do make your decisions in consultation with your GP or pharmacist.
I've tried to quit before and it didn't work. What can I do?
Remember that most people try to quit numerous times before they're successful. Review your past attempts to quit and think about what worked and what didn't. Try the successful strategies again. Consider your habits and your routines and how you could change them.
What kinds of things can I do when I feel the urge to smoke?
Talk with someone, go for a walk, drink water or occupy yourself with a task. Reduce your stress levels by exercising, having a hot bath or listening to some relaxing music. See more tips below for changing your smoking habits.
Some of my friends and family smoke. I'm trying to quit, what should I do when I'm with them?
Spend some time thinking about and pre planning what it might be like to spend time with them once you quit. Try some of the following tips to make it a little bit easier:
- For the first few weeks, try to avoid situations where people are smoking.
- Pick a phrase such as 'I'm quitting smoking' or 'no thanks, I don't smoke'
- Consider whether you have a non-smoking friend who would be a good support person to help you stay the course.
- Find something to reach for to keep your hands busy.
- Be prepared to excuse yourself and go to the bathroom – wash your face, take some deep breaths. Sometimes removing yourself from the situation can be enough.
- Be ready to step back inside or outside, walk around the block, or perhaps head home!
Tips for changing smoking habits
First thing in the morning
Have a shower first thing
With coffee (or tea)
Change to a different drink, brand or coffee or mug, change the place where you drink it.
At morning tea
Read a magazine or book, sit in a different place, or with different people.
At the computer at home
Shift your desk around or redecorate it
After lunch/ dinner
Go for a walk
At afternoon tea
Try a herbal tea, read the paper
Straight after work
Do some exercise or meditation
Just before dinner
Eat dinner earlier or later, drink a glass of water
Change to a different drink, hold glass in smoking hand
As you plan your next task/ assignment/ project
Deep breathe or try a relaxation or mindfulness exercise
When you're with another smoker
Chew gum, bring a water bottle, stay indoors
As a reward – e.g. completing an assignment
Listen to music, have a piece of fruit
At night when watching TV
Change the furniture around, hold a stress ball, do some stretching
Just before bed
Have a warm drink, herbal tea or read a book