Health advice
How do I stop smoking?
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Smoking can cause a range of serious health conditions. Read more to learn about how to make quitting smoking easier.

Tobacco smoke is addictive and contains harmful chemicals. Most smokers in the UK want to quit, but doing so can be difficult.

We’ve put together a guide to help you stop.

Being prepared

Before you stop smoking, it can help to have a plan. Note down why you want to quit, so you can remind yourself when you have cravings.

If you’ve tried to quit before, use what helped you last time. You can also try new approaches to help you quit. It’s often best to use more than one method to stop smoking to make it easier.1

With the NHS Quit Smoking app, you can see how much money you can save by quitting. You can also explore how your health can improve the longer you stop smoking.1

Avoiding triggers

Being aware of what triggers your cravings to smoke helps you to fight them the urge more effectively.

When you smoke, it can become part of your daily routine, such as always having a cigarette after a meal. Try building new habits, like going for a walk or making a cup of tea when you would usually have a cigarette. Keeping busy or starting new hobbies can be a good way to distract yourself from any cravings.1

Many people find that they are more likely to lapse and smoke again after drinking alcohol. This may be because alcohol makes you more impulsive. You may feel like smoking more when you drink. Avoiding alcohol can help you maintain your goal.2

Social support

Stopping smoking can be difficult, but having the support of others can really help. If you tell your family and friends you’re quitting, it can help you stick to it. If you’re struggling with cravings, you can reach out to someone supportive for help.1

You may also find it helpful to join support groups with other people who are quitting smoking. The NHS runs an online support group where people who are stopping smoking can go for encouragement and advice.

Nicotine replacement therapy

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is a method of quitting smoking. NRT comes in a few different forms, so you can find the one that works best for you.

These include:
  • Patches you put on your skin
  • Chewing gum
  • Tablets
  • Lozenges
  • Sprays for your nose or mouth
  • Inhalators.3

NRT contains nicotine, which is what makes tobacco addictive. It doesn’t contain the other harmful ingredients in tobacco, like tar and carbon monoxide. This means that NRT can satisfy your cravings for nicotine without the other health risks associated with tobacco products.3


Like NRT, vapes contain nicotine but not the other harmful substances in tobacco. Vaping is not risk free, but it can be a helpful way to quit smoking.

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Stop smoking services

The NHS offers services to help you stop smoking. You can meet with an advisor one-on-one to help you quit. As well as giving advice and support, they can tell you about methods to help you quit in detail. Some services offer group sessions or drop-ins too.4

You can find your local stop smoking service in England here.

You can find your local stop smoking service in Scotland here.

You can find your local stop smoking service in Wales here.

You can find your local stop smoking service in Northern Ireland here.

Visit your nearest pharmacy

Get support and advice from your local Well pharmacist

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Where can I go for further support and information?

NHS Inform

Information and support about stopping smoking if you live in Scotland.

NHS Website

Information about stopping smoking, including an app and local stop smoking services.

  1. Quit smoking - Better Health. Published November 3, 2020. Accessed July 25, 2023.
  2. Kahler CW, Borland R, Hyland A, et al. Quitting Smoking and Change in Alcohol Consumption in the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2010;110(1-2):101-107. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2010.02.008
  3. Stop smoking treatments. Published October 18, 2017. Accessed July 31, 2023.
  4. NHS stop smoking services help you quit. Published November 24, 2021. Accessed July 31, 2023.

Published: October 2023

Next review: October 2026

Reviewed by: Connie Whewall

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