Take steps NOW to stop smoking

Seven practical, quick and simple steps you can take straight away to quit smoking

Talk to your GP

Many people don't realise that their GP can help them quit smoking. But your doctor can do a lot, such as enrolling you in a 'stop smoking' clinic and prescribing nicotine replacement therapy such as patches and gum, or stop smoking medication such as Champix.

Find out more about how your GP can help you quit.

Join an NHS Stop Smoking Service

The NHS has stop smoking services staffed by trained stop smoking advisers all over the country in a range of venues at times to suit you. You can join a group where local smokers meet once a week or have one-to-one support if you prefer. You usually go for a few weeks and work towards a quit date.

Find your nearest NHS Stop Smoking Service from the NHS Smokefree website, or call the Smokefree National Helpline to speak to a trained adviser on 0300 123 1044.

Get a free 'Quit Kit' 

The kit is packed with practical tools and advice to help you stop smoking, including a 'tangle' to keep hands busy, a wallchart to keep track of your progress, stress-busting MP3 downloads, information on medicines that can help you stop smoking and exercises to improve your willpower. Order your Quit Kit online

Have an emergency phone number

Keep an emergency number, perhaps for your local NHS Stop Smoking Service. "We’re here from 7am to 11pm every day answering calls from people who are about to have a cigarette and want help not lighting up," says Chris, one of the helpline advisers. "We can talk about why you want to smoke and how to deal with your cravings."

Read more about how to cope with cravings.

Consider using NRT

Nicotine is addictive, and self-control alone might not be enough. Give yourself a better chance of success by using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). This is available either free or on prescription from your GP, depending on where you live, or from your local NHS Stop Smoking Service.

Find your nearest NHS Stop Smoking Service from the NHS Smokefree website, or call 0300 123 1014.

Or, you can buy nicotine patches, gum and so on over the counter from a pharmacy.

Email an expert

Ask an NHS Smokefree expert for advice.

Get online help

Read more about the stop smoking treatments available on the NHS.

Page last reviewed: 16/01/2014

Next review due: 16/01/2016


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The 9 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

BrightonRocks said on 29 September 2014

I quit smoking by switching to ecigs. I tried and failed to stop countless times previously with all manner of techniques (including the ones recommended by the NHS).

It's the easiest way to not smoke but still enjoy the habit and ritual. Ecigs are cheaper than normal tobacco, don't smell, and have no tar, no staining etc. You can buy them pretty much anywhere now.

My grandparents and step father died from smoking related diseases and yet I couldn't stop - until ecigs replaced smoking with a relatively harmless alternative (vaping).

Anyone reading this who wants to stop smoking and has failed - go and buy a disposable ecig to try it out - you will be surprised how effective it is. The NHS can't recommend them as there's not enough research been put into them. However, there isn't a scientist in the world who would claim that ecigs are more harmful than actual smoking.

If this comment can get even 1 person to to switch, then that is a positive change. Quitting is really hard, so stop smoking, start vaping. It will put you on the road to a healthier life.

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Chuts said on 08 February 2014

I've been a smoker for more than fifty years and I've been desperately wanting to quit for several years. The help currently offered by the NHS was welcomed but it wasn't enough to overcome the cravings.

What I've recently discovered is that e-puffing is astonishingly effective. I was able to leave tobacco alone completely within two days, and I'm very content because I enjoy e-puffing a lot more than ever I enjoyed tobacco.

The trick, in my experience, is to find the right e-puffing materials, which is immensely difficult at the moment, with just about anyone offering products that don't work.

I sincerely hope that the NHS and other authorities will license the right products: ones that will satisfy those with severe cravings for nicotine. If they do then, I feel sure, they'll help a huge number of people like me.

If they make the mistake of licensing only mildly effective aids, as they've done in the past, then they won't be helping those who need help most.

I do hope that people in influential positions will be reading this.

Note that I use the term "e-puffing": e-cigarettes are too small to deliver what's required for a severely addicted smoker.

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kayelbee41 said on 01 February 2014

Quitting smoking hasn't been easy but its all been worth it. I attempted to quit for a span of 5 years! Quit after quit failed again and again! Its strange because once i knew i could go longer then a day without a smoke i wasn't giving in that easily. The quit bug held onto me until i got where i am today 2 years 4 months without smoking! Yay. Ive used nrt products, self help books and tapes, read as much info as possible. I remember saying once that i could tell someone how to quit inside out as i had so much knowledge but why wasn't it sticking with me...well it has now. I was a smoker 20 a day for 20 odd years! Now i feel free, free from the inconvenience, the cost, the use of nrt, health worries,that as a smoker i became very good at blanking out and refusing to acknowledge i was destroying my health by smoking. Advice i would give is don't ever give up trying to quit smoking. Every smoker can quit with or without the use of quit aids. Keep going, treat yourself e everyday in the early weeks an
For you are doing something truly amazing. Hope ive helped anyone in a small way by writing this. Thanks

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AndBreathe said on 15 January 2013

Dear All,

I just wanted to alert you to a Facebook Group I have set up called 'And Breathe' for people to share tips, advice and encourage one another to quit smoking following the devastating diagnosis of my dad with terminal small cell lung cancer: http://www.facebook.com/groups/andbreathe/

Thank you

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 20 July 2012

Dear Conduct Becoming,

You can find info on electronic cigarettes in our article on smoking treatments: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/smoking-(quitting)/Pages/Treatment.aspx

As of yet, e-cigarettes aren't available on the NHS as there is no firm evidence they help smokers quit.

Hope this helps,

Kathryn Bingham, NHS Choices editor

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Anonymous said on 12 April 2012

The only sure way to give up smoking is your own will power. Take responsiblity for your own health and for your own habits.
All these patches, electric cigarettes, chewing gum etc are just security blankets for those who can't make a decision and stick to it. And a very profitable source of revenue for the pharmaceutical companies who produce them.
I gave up by deciding to quit after finishing the packet I was smoking at the time. And I did it. I smoked my last cigarette at 11pm on 10th September 2011 and since then haven't lit up another. I stayed away from places where it was usual to smoke (the pub, clubs, bars and discos) And told everyone I knew "I have given up" (I didn't say that I'm giving up, because by saying that you can cheat on yourself) If you can't trust yourself and stick to your own decisions what sort of a friend are you to the most important person in your life, you? You don't need patches, gum etc you just need to love yourself enough to treat yourself like the precious being that you are.

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Conduct Becoming said on 13 March 2012

Where can I find information on using an electronic cigarette.

My local pharmacy does not stock them and yet they seem to be very popular and offer good success rates for quitting.

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RPhS said on 02 March 2012

You may be interested in the Royal Pharmaceutical Society blog post on smoking cessation services available in community pharmacies: http://blog.rpharms.com/england/2012/02/15/from-a-diary-of-community-pharmacist-smoking-cessation-services/

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CharlieBoston said on 11 November 2011

We talk to our GP about everything, why not our struggles to kick the habit. To that end, the GP can be an invaluable resource.

Charlie Boston

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