Research shows that smokers who stop with support from other people, whether trained advisers or family and friends, are more likely to quit successfully. These are some of the ways you can get support:
One to one support
A trained adviser can give you the one-to-one support you need to stop smoking and stay quit. They will tell you about nicotine replacement products and stop smoking medicines, as well as recommending products or combination of products which could work for you. You can get support through your local stop smoking service. You may also be able to access support from your local pharmacy or via your GP or local hospital.
Sessions usually start before you actually quit smoking and prepare you to stop successfully. You’ll continue to meet with your adviser over the first few weeks after you quit, so you can talk through any problems you’re having and get help to stay motivated.
Your adviser may test your carbon monoxide levels so you can see your progress. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that you inhale when you smoke. It deprives your body of oxygen and leaves you at risk of heart attacks and stroke. Within 24 hours of stopping smoking carbon monoxide leaves your body. Many smokers find having their carbon monoxide monitored when they are quitting is really motivating.
Family & Friends
Support from friends or family members can be really helpful if you’re quitting smoking. Letting those around you know that you’re trying to quit will mean they can help you keep your motivation to stop smoking. And your loved ones can also help you celebrate becoming an exsmoker!
When you’re trying to stop smoking, you may find you get intense cravings which are caused by nicotine withdrawal. Nicotine is highly addictive but is the least harmful of all the chemicals in cigarettes – which is why it is found in stop smoking aids such as patches and gum. Cravings can be very intense but will only last around five minutes so try to wait them out and remind yourself that the feeling will pass. Asking friends and family members to distract you when you’re craving a smoke can help you get through.
If you have friends and family members who also smoke, letting them know that you’re trying to quit and asking them not to smoke around you will help keep temptation away.
Stop smoking helpline - 0300 123 1044
The Greater Manchester NHS Stop Smoking helpline is open seven days a week: Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm and on Saturday and Sunday between 11am and 4pm.
Specialist advisers can give you support with a series of individual regular phone calls to keep you motivated. This is similar to having support from a stop smoking service, but over the phone rather than in person. Advisers can also direct you to face-to-face support in your local area.
Calls are charged at the same rate as to a landline and are therefore included in many phone packages. Check with your phone provider.
Call the Greater Manchester NHS Stop Smoking helpline now on 0300 123 1044
Support groups provide encouragement when you have decided to quit smoking. Some people find it easier to quit if they can share their experiences with others who are also quitting. Support groups can increase your chances of success and help to keep you motivated.
Some specialist stop smoking services offer group sessions which are delivered by a highly trained specialist. You’ll meet regularly with others who are also trying to quit and quit success rates for those attending group sessions can be high. You can also find online support groups and forums.
Find a specialist smoking support service near you.
Going it alone
Even if you choose not to ask others for support you may still find it easier to quit with stop smoking tools or medication to help you. These are some of the tools that can help you quit:
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
Nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, inhalators and sprays (known as Nicotine Replacement Therapy, or NRT for short) can help you combat the cravings your body gets for nicotine when you first quit smoking. NRT contains nicotine but without the other harmful chemicals found in cigarettes so it is safe to use.
Your stop smoking adviser or local pharmacy may also be able to provide you with free or reduced cost NRT. Find one near you.
E-cigarettes or vapes are now the most popular aid to stop smoking. Many smokers have quit by switching from cigarettes to vaping. Research shows that switching to vaping, along with support from a specialist stop smoking service, helps many people quit.
All the current research suggests that vaping is much better for you than smoking. Public Health England states that e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than traditional cigarettes. While vaping isn’t without risk, if you already smoke and switch completely from smoking to vaping you are making a much healthier choice.
Stop smoking medication
Some smokers find that using a prescription medication to stop smoking is the most helpful method of quitting. It can be combined with nicotine replacement therapy or vaping. But you can’t take stop smoking medications if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding or if you have certain medical conditions.
There are two medications available:
The most common stop smoking medication is Varenicline (also known as Champix). It is usually prescribed by a doctor, or from a pharmacist. Varenicline works by reducing cravings for nicotine and also helps to change the way you think about smoking by preventing your brain from matching smoking with good feelings. Varenicline is a 12 week course of tablets, which you will be advised to start taking a couple of weeks before you plan to quit.
Bupropion (also known as Zyban) is a prescription only medication that was originally used to treat depression, but has also been found to help people quit smoking. You do not need to experience depression for it to work as a stop smoking aid. Bupropion is a 7-9 week course of tablets. You should start taking the tablets one week before your quit day.
Talk to your GP or pharmacist about stop smoking medications.
Apps & online tools
Apps and online tools can help you plan the best way to quit, track your progress, give advice to keep you motivated and reward you for stopping smoking. They can help you plan ahead and provide somewhere to turn to quickly when you feel the urge to smoke or find yourself struggling.