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The most effective way to quit combines some form of counselling / behavioural support, such as Quitline, with either nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or a quitting medicaiton.

You may have tried to quit before and found it really difficult. Research shows that there are two types of support that increase the likelihood of success:

  • support from a professional advisor or counsellor to help you understand and manage habits and emotions linked to smoking


  • NRT or quitting medications, both of which reduce cravings and nicotine withdrawal symptoms

Counselling / behavioural support 

Good counselling / behavioural support::

  • Helps you organise what you need to do and offers reminders of when to do it.
  • Helps you work out your reasons to quit.
  • Builds your confidence and encourages you.
  • Helps you learn new skills to manage cravings and withdrawals, weight gain and/or stress.
  • Reminds you that things will get easier.

Proven, high-quality counselling / behavioural support can be accessed through::

  • Quitline  The telephone counselling service provides support and information on quitting smoking. It is regularly evaluated and has high rates of successfully helping people to stop smoking. 
  • QuitCoach Offers tailored online quitting advice.

Other types of support:

  • Face-to-face counselling by a GP or trained Health Professional
  • Self-help books
  • Brochures
  • Websites

NRT products

Patches, gum, lozenge, mouth spray, inhalator. Go here to read more about nicotine replacement therapy

Quitting medication

Go here to read more about Champix or Zyban

Cold turkey vs. cutting down

What is cold turkey?

The term “cold turkey” refers to quitting abruptly, rather than gradually cutting down to no cigarettes.

What is cutting down?

Cutting down is reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke each day til you are no longer smoking. Some people decide to smoke only on the hour, for instance, then every two hours, etc. until they are going all day without smoking.

Which method is best?

Research shows that quitting abruptly is more effective than cutting down unless you are cutting down as part of a structured program where someone other than you decides when you can smoke.

If you decide to cut down it’s better to remove your favourite cigarettes first. Leaving your favourites to last makes them more enjoyable. This means it is more difficult to quit completely.

Some people quit successfully by cutting down, but it’s important to have a clear plan, and a quit date . Be aware that cutting down can be just as challenging. You can get to a point of feeling over quitting - quitting fatigue - before you’ve even quit!

If quitting abruptly is too big a step, then cutting down is better than not trying at all. Either way, remember you will be more likely to succeed with support from a counselling / behavioural support service like Quitlinenicotine replacement therapy or quitting medication.