Help available if you want to quit smoking
Stop smoking services
Stopping smoking is often tough, and different approaches will work for different people. Plan an approach to stopping that is most likely to work for you.
If you've had enough of cigarettes, help is available through smoking cessation programmes and Nicotine Replacement Therapy.
These free stop smoking services are offered in pharmacies, GP practices, Health and Social Care Trust premises, and community and voluntary organisations.
Tips and advice
Some helpful tips to keep you on track include:
- set a specific date on which you want to stop smoking and stick to it
- let people know so they can support you in your quit attempt
- try to encourage a group of your friends or family to stop with you and support one another
- change your routine to avoid situations when you usually smoke
- don't fall into the trap of having ‘just one’ cigarette – one cigarette can easily lead to another
- instead of smoking, occupy your hands with a stress or tennis ball, or the 'tangle found in the Public Health Agency's Quit Kit
- when you feel like smoking a cigarette, try texting or ringing a friend – it will help the craving to pass and take your mind off it
- avoid eating high-energy, high-sugar snack foods in place of cigarettes - try fresh fruit, a low-fat yogurt or sugar-free gum instead
- avoid skipping meals or eating sweets, as both cause a rapid rise and fall in blood sugar levels which make cravings worse
- keep active - walk more, go for a swim or a cycle, dance to music at home, do some vacuuming, gardening, or wash the car
- put the money you're saving on cigarettes away so that you can buy something you really want - it can help motivate you when things are tough
Cancer, heart disease and strokes
Smoking is a major risk for coronary heart disease, strokes and other diseases, including lung cancer.
If you quit and then relapse, accept it, work out why it happened, and focus on how you can avoid it in future.
It takes several efforts for many people to quit for good but if you are determined, you will do it.