How to Stop Smoking


If you had told me last week that I would be smoke free today, I wouldn’t have believed you. I was one of those people who had a massive panic attack just thinking about not smoking any more.

I have tried giving up* before and failed miserably. I even used Champix and had a cigarette as soon as I went off the tablets. I have been smoking more or less continuously for 30 years.

Although I am by no means an expert, here is how I stopped smoking.

(*the phrase “giving up” is fucked – you are not giving up anything)


★ Play mind games with yourself by blaming everything wrong with you, your friends and the world on smoking — read this GREAT article by Mark Manson…

mm quit smoking

★ Convince yourself that everything will get better once you stop smoking — you will no longer have bad skin/hot flushes/arthritis etc. etc. (even though you know it may not be true).

★ Remind yourself how filthy and disgusting smoking is every time you light up.

★ Only allow yourself to smoke outside in the cold, standing up, or somewhere else uncomfortable.

★ Add up how much it costs you a week.

★ See it as a physical addiction to the drug nicotine, like injecting heroin into your veins.


★ You don’t have to stop on Monday and you don’t have to stop at the beginning of the day. Mornings are the hardest for me so I stopped after three cigarettes on a Wednesday (when my packet ran out).

★ Keep some cigarettes handy (don’t throw them away). I don’t do deprivation well so I needed to know I could still choose to smoke. I had (and still have) an unopened packet of cigarettes in the cupboard. If that choice had been taken away, I would have gone out, bought a packet out of spite and smoked them (weird I know).

★ If cold turkey is too scary a prospect, start with nicotine replacement therapy. I used NRT for just over a day until I realised I was in this no man’s land of being in mild withdrawal all the time but without any end in sight. I took my patch off and went for it. I don’t think I could have done it if I hadn’t taken that first baby step.

★ Tell somebody you’re attempting to stop. Lean on their support and encouragement.


★ I actually stopped smoking around the anniversary of my ex-husband’s death. The only part of me that still lingered from my old life was my smoking habit, and it was time to let it go. You are no longer the person you were when you began to smoke so you don’t have to do it anymore.


★ Physical withdrawal lasts for a maximum of 72 hours. If you can get through a cold, you can get through nicotine withdrawal.

★ Warn your friends and family to ignore any of your emotional outbursts including getting irritated over nothing and crying for no reason.

stop-smoking-pinMillions of people with less intelligence /good-looks /money /talent /support /determination etc. have survived nicotine withdrawal so you can too.

★ Every withdrawal attempt is different. Just because last time you went through hell, this time might be piss easy.

Don’t expect to suffer from every symptom you’ve ever heard about. Some people can’t sleep, while others have the best sleep of their lives. Some people get constipated and others poop more than they ever have. Just notice each physical change as it turns up and remind yourself it will be gone as soon as the nicotine is out of your system.

Don’t resist the cravings, welcome and embrace them. Stop what you’re doing and feel where the sensation is in your body — your throat, your chest, your stomach? By the time you’ve tried to locate it, it is usually gone. I’ve been known to shout “Come on then, bring it on. Do your worst!”

[R]emember that quitting is mostly a mind game. It’s only as big of a deal or as difficult as you make it. The physical effects and withdrawal symptoms aren’t any worse than those of a common cold. The struggle is mental. And if you decide that the struggle is monumental, then it will feel monumental. Conversely, if you decide it’s just a temporary roadblock in your life that you must take a few weeks to overcome, then it will be.    {Mark Manson – How I Quit Smoking for Good}

★ Do something physical to make yourself breathe more deeply. I took up jumping rope every time I thought about smoking. Short bursts of activity filled my lungs with good, clean air.

★ Imagine nicotine as an ugly little monster in your head. Every time you get a craving, that is him begging for food. If you ignore him for 72 hours, he will shrivel up and die. Bye bye!

★ Nicotine isn’t a cure for anxiety or stress, nicotine creates anxiety and stress by putting you in a constant state of withdrawal. The relief you feel when you smoke is the end of withdrawal, not an infusion of calmness. Once you break the cycle, you will feel calmer than you ever have before all the time.

★ If you feel jittery, check your caffeine intake. Smokers have a high tolerance for caffeine which disappears when you go off the drug. Try cutting down to half your usual amount. My Diet Coke habit is now down to one can a day.

★ Listen to hypnosis or subliminal suggestions. Who knows if it works? It can’t hurt.

stop smoking subliminal

★ Drink lots of orange juice, or cranberry juice to flush the nicotine out faster.

★ If you think you’re going to crack, tell yourself you can have a cigarette in an hour if you still really want one. Chances are you will have forgotten about it.

★ Suck on Tic Tacs or other low calorie lollies. Eat carrot sticks. Drink water.

★ Get an app for your phone that celebrates the days you are smoke-free, your health improvements and the money you’ve saved.  Mine is called Smoke Free.


Throw things at your partner. My boyfriend brought home a bull-shaped stress toy which I discovered I could throw as hard as I could at his head and it wouldn’t hurt. Don’t forget to shout, “Incoming,” before you launch your missile.

Read books explaining what is going on. Aside from Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking which everyone talks about, I also discovered this (free) book which I highly recommend – Never Take Another Puff by Joel Spitzer.


★ It takes two weeks for all traces of nicotine to leave your system. Anything physical, mental or emotional that happens in the first two weeks is not a preview of your future self.

★ Set your intention to stay smoke free one day at a time.

(a) If something horrible happens and you want to start smoking again, tell yourself you will wait until tomorrow. This will give you time to reflect properly on your decision before you throw away everything.

(b) You get to celebrate every night when you get into bed for a job well done. I put a sticker next to the date in my diary. If I was quitting for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t get to achieve that goal (and celebrate) until I was at death’s door.

★ A “slip up” means you will return to the same level of smoking you were at before you quit, or you have to start withdrawal all over again. There is no “just one” cigarette or even a puff.

★ You won’t spend your life in a constant state of wanting a cigarette, unless you believe you have “given up” something. You get to control your thoughts — make them good ones.

… and that is all I have got for now. When I have been smoke free for longer I will get back to you. In the meantime, tell me …

Have you quit smoking? What advice would you give your smoking self?


About KatieP

Embracing my midlife sexy while exploring modern love & relationships • Devoted to all things beautiful • Master of Arts in creative writing & non-fiction writing

29 thoughts on “How to Stop Smoking

  1. This advice is excellent for so many life changes. The part about embracing the cravings is brilliant. It helps with pain. Don’t fight it, accept it and it dissipates.

  2. Katie, I read exactly the same books to prepare and they made all the difference. Knowledge really is power.
    I too made my quit day not too much of a big deal … and then made it a big deal. I chose May 4th, as in: “May the 4th be with you.” It’s almost like I feel the force every time I say it 🙂 It’ll be 2 years in 2 weeks!
    You are so right about it being all in our mind. In fact, once my husband saw me do it and I explained how much of it was in our way of thinking, he did it too. No fuss, no bother … just done. He smoked over 40 a day when he quit, and he’d been smoking for 40 years.
    Truthfully, there are times when I’d love to enjoy a good smoke like I used to, but I never go for it because, at this point, I know it would never be the pleasure that it once was. The pleasure came from being addicted and satisfying a craving, and I’m not addicted anymore.
    You can say that too! We are no longer addicts!!
    May the 4th be with you. 🙂 (My husband sends you an “atta girl!”)

  3. This is a timely article for me! I’ve been smoking for almost 7 years now and I don’t want to even think about how much damage I’ve done both to my body and my bank account.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. This is a best article on behalf of me..I’ve been smoking for pretty much three years currently and that i don’t need to even trust what proportion injury I’ve done each to my body and my checking account.

  5. I opened this article just to read your story, but I love all the ways to coped with it (especially the one about throwing things).
    I tried to quit smoking and couldn’t seem to do it, then one day I discovered I was pregnant, that was the end. Thank God that no lasting damage was done to my daughter from the little while that I smoked before I knew I was pregnant. I think if I hadn’t have become pregnant I would still be smoking, it is a hard habit to break.
    The wonderful is that you are right, I found I was so much calmed after I quit since I wasn’t having withdrawals that I needed to fill. Way to go, and thank you for sharing your success story!

  6. Today is my first day of giving up smoking, I’ve tried giving smoking sooo many times but always fail.Thank you for a very good article and hopefully this time will be my success of smoking free 🙂

  7. Thank you for this article, I’m going to pin to reread a few times for inspiration. I am going to quit smoking after 45 years, and I am definitely the gal who panics just thinking about it.

  8. Singularly THE best article I’ve read on the subject, largely because I think very simarlarly to you. Thank you so much for sharing. I will be putting these ideas to use

  9. Katie, truly inspiring, I so want to be done with this, which will be my 3rd try …may it be the charm. Your writings were so true and on point.

    Best !!
    Patty Philadelphia PA

  10. Thank you so much♡ at last calm advice. I’m trying to stop and end my (practicaly) lifetime addiction to cigarettes. Day 4. I loved smoking, but it is time to stop 🙂

  11. Very good advise I have beeping trying to quit for sometime and my husband lost faith in my ability to quit so he is skeptical when I daubing going to which makes it hard on top of having 2 very active children I feel like I’m never going to accomplish my goal but after reading this it makes me want to try harder

  12. I have tried several times and failed each time. I think I was putting to much into figuring out reasons to smoke I never gave it a fair chance. This time is different, I REALLY decided that I am an ex-smoker. I appreciated all the tips that got you through it as like you I would absolutely freak out at the thought of quitting but this time I am excited to be a ex-smoker, so many things to experience without trying to figure out where a smoke fits in. 40 year smoker here and fed up with it!! Thanks for the insight!

  13. Great job to all of you that are succeeding at quitting this physical and mental habit. I think about quitting every day but haven’t so far. I was researching ways to do so when I came across all of the encouraging stories. I feel inspired and ready to do this! Thanks to all.

    1. You can do it Mona! It’s mostly mind over matter from what I found out. Once I made the decision I found that the withdrawals that everyone says are so terrible aren’t anything like what they say, so much easier! You just have to put your mind to it and do it. I read a book by Allen Carr, The EASYWAY to quit smoking and it was quite an eye opener. If your a reader I recommend it, it really helped me to understand the “habit” and how to overcome it. Good luck!!

  14. Any advice for when your husband smokes like a freight train in the house??? He has no desire to quit but I very much do but it feels impossible when I finally fight back a craving and he lights up for a 3rd time

    1. Hi Jeni,

      I am living with a heavy smoker too (my sister) and work with sister & mother who also smokes. I am in the same situation. Would you like to buddy up? I have tried to quit many times, and find it very difficult because of the cigarettes being within such easy reach. We can email or text each other – I’m in Australia. My email is – get in touch 🙂 we can set a date and figure out a way to become an ex-smoker which Kelly, and so many of the other inspiring ladies above are now! That might be us soon 😉


  15. I’m trying to quit again. This will be my 3rd attempt. I appreciate you all sharing tips. Anyone who has more tips, I would love to know. Good luck everyone and God bless.

  16. Thank you for your story Katie. I am a pack a day smoker and have been for around 12 years – I’m 30 now, so almost half my life.? I have attempted and failed many many times to stop smoking over the years, I’ve tried almost every nicorette product that exists. Your story has inspired me to try again and really give it my all. Thank you ❤

  17. Today… I am committing to stop this nasty habit. Long overdue but my physical self is now telling my mental self to stop before it’s too late. I have been preparing myself for a while, but always use “stress” or social drinking as my excuses to light up. Thank you for your insight and awesome tips. I just downloaded the smoke free app and so the count begins. Wish me luck!!

  18. I have tried everything. I think of nothing but a cigarettes constantly until I cave. I now have a cage and rods in my back, a port in my chest from polycythemia. I want to quit. I need to quit, but I really enjoy it. I am going to try your approach. No ok ne will be near me. I am a bitch. I cry, gets pissy. I pray this time and your approach works.

  19. I am just starting my quit journey. I read your article for more insight because to am dreading what life will be like after I achieve this goal of being smoke free. Yesterday I went for my first acupuncture treatment and it has helped with the cravings so far. I am fearful of the 72 hours and the withdrawal symptoms but I do know in my heart that inntue end it will all be worth it. Your right it is all in my head and if I can get through the worst cold, I can do this. Thank you for sharing yoirs ideas. Wish me luck on being successful. ?

  20. I came across this article while I was looking for ways to quit smoking. I think there is a force that landed me on it. Today I intend to quit smoking before the end of this month.
    “May the fourth” pricked my ears and I will use it everytime the crave creeps on me.
    May the force be with me till I beat this deadly habit out of me.
    Thanks all for sharing your experiences.
    Wish me luck.

  21. Tomorrow will be 1 week smoke free! All these ideas are terrific! The cravings aren’t as bad now, I’m finding the problem is mental at this point. Thanks for the tips!

Comments are closed.