If you’ve recently planned to stop smoking, you might already be a confident non-smoker. But you may also have hit a few bumps in the road. So, here are ten top tips to help you stay smoke-free after you’ve quit.

ONE: Drink plenty of (non-alcoholic!) liquids. They will help flush the toxins out of your system.

TWO: Practice saying “No, thank you, I’m a non-smoker” aloud to yourself till it feels comfortable. Repeat it – and mean it – if you are offered a cigarette.

THREE: Avoid anyone who thinks it’s funny to tempt you to smoke, at least for a while. Sometimes friends and family are just teasing; they may not think you’re serious about quitting, or even that if you are successful you will put them under pressure to quit too. If you can’t avoid these people, explain to them how important this is to you, and suggest ways they could support you.

FOUR: If you stop smoking, you will save money. Work out exactly how much you spent on cigarettes each year. Plan what else you will do with it.

FIVE: At first, spend some of what you would have spent on cigarettes on rewards for reaching the milestones: one day stopped, one week stopped, one month stopped and so on. Choose healthy treats like a massage, or video night!

SIX: If you experience cravings when you stop smoking, find something to do and distract yourself from them. Go for a walk, clean the kitchen cupboards or plan what you will do with the money you’re saving. Tell yourself that each time you have a craving you are one step closer to the final one.

SEVEN: If you miss having something to hold, take up doodling, word or number puzzles, or even knitting.

EIGHT: If you find your mouth feels “empty” without a cigarette, find a healthy replacement. Sports bottles of water are good because you have to suck them to get the water out.

NINE: As a non-smoker, your senses of smell and taste will improve and you may be tempted to eat more. At meal times eat slowly, enjoying each mouthful. Use my mindful eating technique. Between meals, if you have to snack, choose raw vegetables, breads-sticks, fruit, or low-calorie snack bars.

TEN: Among the most common reasons for returning to smoking after a quit attempt are stress and sleep disturbances. If you need extra support, consider using complementary therapies (such as hypnotherapy). Most therapies can offer relaxation, which will help with stress and sleep. Hypnotherapy, in particular, can also help boost your motivation to stay healthy and free from smoking. Contact me or see this page if you want to find out more.

Author: Debbie Waller is a professional therapist, specialising in stress, anxiety and related issues, including gut-directed hypnotherapy to help with the symptoms of IBS. She also offers EMDR/Blast which is used for trauma, PTSD, phobias and OCD. For more information on any of these services, phone 01977 678593. 

Researcher: Rae Waller is an experienced researcher and writer with a special interest in mental health issues. Rae offers drafting, fact-checking, proofreading, and editing for anything from a leaflet to a website, a blog or a book, and can also provide diversity reading, especially for LGBTQ+ and autism-related issues. Please contact rae@debbiewaller.com for further information.