Ready to quit smoking? Here’s where to start

Ready to quit smoking

Most smokers think about quitting a lot. However, becoming a quitter – and staying a quitter - is a different story. Often, knowing where to start is the hardest part.

If you’re ready, here’s what to do:

1. Choose how you’ll quit 

Everyone’s different, so be sure to choose the path that best works for you:

Cold turkey

This is where you stop smoking abruptly, without the use of medication or any quitting products. It’s perfectly safe and often gets results, but can be tough.

Cutting down

This is where you decrease the number of cigarettes you smoke per day over a period of time – with the end goal of stopping entirely, and is an option if you want to ease into quitting.

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)

There are various NRT products available on the market – including patches, gum, lozenges, mouth spray and inhalators that can help manage withdrawal symptoms. They replace some of the nicotine you usually get from cigarettes but are much safer than smoking as they don’t contain the dangerous chemicals found in tobacco smoke.

Quitting medications

There are two non-nicotine prescription medications available in Australia. They are available under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and using these medications can increase your chances of quitting. Prescription medication won’t stop all cravings but will decrease withdrawal symptoms when you quit. This medication isn’t suitable for everyone and side effects can occur. You will require a prescription from your doctor.

Check out for more on ways to quit

2. Talk to your healthcare professional or Quitline

For expert help, call Quitline on 13 7848 or chat to them online, make an appointment with your local doctor or drop by a pharmacy.

You will need to see a doctor if you want to use prescription medications. Also, nicotine patches are much cheaper if you get a prescription from your doctor, but can also be purchased without a script from pharmacies and some supermarkets. It’s particularly important to talk to a doctor before quitting if you have a mental illness, are currently taking medication, or have asthma, diabetes or another health condition.

3. Establish a support network

Quitting smoking can be a big deal, and can require a lot of support.

Ask friends or family who do smoke, not to do so around you, and to help you avoid trigger situations. For instance, rather than heading to the pub on a Friday night after work, arrange to go for a walk with friends, meet for dinner somewhere indoors (where there is no smoking), or head to the movies. It’s also worth chatting with someone close to you and sharing with them your reasons for quitting.

You can also get support from other quitters on the Quitline Facebook page.

Need help?

Don’t forget that there are plenty of great resources to help you quit. Call Quitline on 13 78 48 (Mon-Fri 8.30am-7.45pm or Sat 2pm-4.45pm) or register online for a call back. To find out more about quitting, visit

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