Group of friends happy and jumping in the air as they have quit smoking

Whether you’re a social smoker or a pack-a-day smoker, stubbing out the habit for good can be hard. Yes, we all know how bad it is for our health but sometimes that physical and psychological craving defeats any logic. We’re here to tell you - don’t give up! Keep persevering by trying one or a combination of these tried-and-tested methods.

Group of friends happy and jumping in the air as they have quit smoking

What are the best ways to stop smoking?

Help from an expert

Sometimes the best first step is to admit to a professional that you want to make a change. So, have a chat with one of our in-store pharmacists or check out the NHS stop smoking service to get information and advice on your quit smoking journey.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

A dependency on nicotine is the main reason why people continue to smoke against all their better judgement. It’s also what causes withdrawal symptoms when you stop suddenly.

To help wean yourself off smoking for good, nicotine replacement therapy provides you with a low level of nicotine. By doing this you are feeding the smoking habit, but without the presence of any other harsh chemicals like tar and carbon monoxide.

NRT can be administered in various forms including skin patches, mouth spray, chewing gum, inhalators, tablets and nasal spray. You can choose to stick to one method or combine a few options, whatever works best for you – there’s no right way. Treatment should last between 8-12 weeks, before stopping NRT and smoking completely.

Stop Smoking Patches

One of the most popular ways to quit smoking is using an NRT patch. This is an easy and discreet way to help you on your way to giving up smoking.

Patches release a controlled amount of nicotine into the bloodstream through the skin. The amount of nicotine they release varies depending on the strength of the patch and whether is it a 24-hour patch or just a day-wear one. Wearing the 24-hour patch may help particularly with early morning cravings.

Nicorette Nicorette Invisible 25mg Nicotine Patch 7 Patches £8.99 Buy Now

Nicotine Gum

Gum helps tackle the cravings by absorbing nicotine from the gum through the lining of the mouth. It comes in two doses, 2mg and 4mg, as well as different flavours. This may be a good option for you if you miss the action of smoking in particular.

Superdrug Superdrug Nicotine 4mg Replacement Gum 96 Gum £9.99 Buy Now

Nicotine Lozenges and Strips

Similar to nicotine gum, lozenges and strips work so that the nicotine is absorbed through the lining of the mouth. This method may be right for you in you are looking for a discreet way to stop smoking and don’t enjoy or can’t chew gum.

Superdrug Superdrug Nicotine 2mg Lozenges 72 Lozenges £13.99 Buy Now

Nicotine Inhalators or Inhalers

Inhalators may be the method for you if you miss the hand-to-mouth action of smoking. Nicotine inhalators or inhalers release nicotine vapour into your mouth when you inhale.

Nicotine Sprays

This method provides a fast relief and is absorbed through the lining of the mouth just like gum and lozenges.

Nicorette Nicorette QuickMist 1mg Freshmint Mouthspray Single Pack £14.99 Buy Now

E-cigarettes

Switching to an e-cigarette can help you on your way to quitting for good. What is is? An e-cigarette is a device that allows you to inhale nicotine through vapour, as opposed to smoke. It works by heating up a solution that typically contains propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerine and flavourings in addition to nicotine.

The benefits of ‘vaping’ with an e-cigarette are that the smoke doesn’t contain tar or carbon monoxide (two of the most harmful elements in tobacco smoke). It also can satisfy the habitual action of smoking. Using this method is particularly effective, but isn’t completely risk-free as it still supplies the body with nicotine.

Vype Vype ePen Black Starter Kit e-Cigarettes Each Black £14.99 Buy Now

What are the benefits if I stop?

It only takes 20 minutes for the first benefit to kick in. In less than half an hour after your last cigarette, your pulse returns to normal. It only takes hours for the next improvement to jump start. The table below shows how long it takes for your health to completely go back to normal after you’ve decided that this cigarette is your last.

There are many more benefits to stopping smoking. Your health gets better, giving way to many more positive lifestyle changes due to an improved sense of smell and taste, a brighter complexion and a heavier wallet. After all, smoking isn’t cheap.

what-happens-when-you-stop-smoking-infographic

Source of information: NHS

Dr Pixie’s 5 Top Tips to help you quit

  • Set a date to quit, but make sure it's a date you know you're not likely to be stressed or in a social situation.
  • Find yourself a quit buddy - having someone there to support you on your quit journey is a great motivational tool.
  • Work out the times when you crave cigarettes - if it's when you're out with your friends at a bar you might want to think of ways in which you can create a diversion tactic for yourself like getting a drink or having a dance.
  • Do some exercise! There's been research that suggests exercise helps reduce cravings, so get moving!
  • If you don't think you can go cold turkey why not try nicotine replacement therapy? It can double your chances of becoming a successful quitter.