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The more you know about your smoking habits and routines, and the more prepared you are for dealing with withdrawal and cravings, the greater your chance of quitting.

Nicotine withdrawal, habits and routines, emotions, social situations and the amount of alcohol you've had can all contribute to the urge to smoke.

Together they make quitting a challenge.

Understanding your smoking helps you to anticipate cravings and plan your quit attempt.

Keeping a smoking diary, which records when you smoke and how you are feeling when you smoke, will help you learn about your habits and triggers.  This will help you to be better prepared.

Download and print out the Smoking Diary below to keep track of your smoking.

Resource Documents


I like to smoke when I have a drink. Do I have to give up both?

It is best to avoid drinking alcohol for the first 3 months after quitting because drinking lowers your chances of success at quitting. It helps to drink a lot of water and other non-alcoholic drinks when you are trying to quit.

How can I change my daily routine eg smoking a cigarette with breakfast?

When you first try to quit, change your routine. Eat breakfast in a different place, and drink tea instead of coffee. Take a different route to work.

What kinds of activities can I do when I feel the urge to smoke?

Talk with someone, go for a walk, drink water, or get busy with a task. Reduce your stress by taking a hot bath, exercising, or reading a book.

Some of my friends and family are smokers. What should I do when I'm with them?

Tell them that you are quitting, and ask them to assist you in this effort. Specifically, ask them not to smoke or leave cigarettes around you.

Is it a good idea to cut down gradually before finally quitting?

Some people do manage to cut down the number of cigarettes they smoke as a prelude to quitting but this is not a recommended strategy. What usually happens is that people smoke more intensively, taking more and deeper puffs on each cigarette in order to get the level of nicotine that they had become accustomed to. The best way to quit is to set a date and make a clean break. Using nicotine replacement products or Zyban will help to overcome the cravings associated with nicotine withdrawal.

What's the best way to stop smoking?

When you are thinking about stopping, talk to an expert about what's involved - e.g. Quitline, pharmacists or your GP. Find out whether one of the proven pharmaceutical treatments like NRT or Zyban would be right for you - they can double your chance of success. Get your friends and family involved as they can give you moral support. Then pick a day and stick to it.