Getting through the first few weeks

With good planning and great support you will be able to stop smoking. You may find the first few weeks the most challenging.

It’s normal to feel emotional when you make big changes. Giving up cigarettes can feel like losing a friend. Recognise and acknowledge the change in your emotions and understand that it’s just a stage. If you can ride through the uncomfortable feelings, your emotions will gradually settle down and you will feel more confident and comfortable without cigarettes.

Coping with cravings

When you get a craving, start by acknowledging it. It can be useful to think about why you want a cigarette, and thinking about how you can beat the craving. Check out these videos for Sam and Wendy’s advice on beating cravings.

Try the 4D’s: Delay, Deep breathe, Drink water, Do something else

  • Do something else instead of smoking: read a magazine, listen to music, go for a walk, call a friend, take a bath, watch a video.
  • Chew gum, sip water, or eat healthy nibbles such as apples, pumpkin seeds and carrot sticks.
  • If you miss doing something with your hands, try doodling or squeezing a stress ball, fiddling with worry beads.
  • Tell yourself ‘I can deal with this craving’ and remind yourself of your reasons for quitting.
  • Brush your teeth more frequently to get used to the feeling of a clean mouth.
  • Text or call your support person – a chat can distract you from smoking.

Remind yourself of the benefits of not having that smoke.

Risky situations

There are some situations, like drinking alcohol or socialising, that can test you. In these situations, there tend to be stronger-than-normal cravings and a higher risk of slip-up or relapse.

Think about these tips:

  • Avoid alcohol for the first one or two weeks of quitting, reduce the number of drinks, or swap to a different drink.
  • Make it easier for yourself and avoid your friends who smoke for a while. Go to non-smoking venues like restaurants or the movies.
  • Practice some things to say, like “Please don’t offer me a smoke, I’m quitting.”
  • If you live with a smoker, make the house a smoke-free zone and set up a comfortable outside area for them.
  • Find other ways to catch up with your partner without smoking – maybe over a meal or on a walk.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of “Just one won’t hurt”. Tell yourself “I’m a non-smoker now” and remove yourself from the situation that’s tempting you.

Common withdrawal/recovery symptoms

These include:

  • Cravings
  • Restlessness and/or difficulty concentrating or sleeping
  • Irritability, anger, anxiety, crying, sadness or depression
  • Increase in appetite and weight gain

Less common withdrawal/recovery symptoms can include:

  • Cold symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, sneezing
  • Constipation, diarrhoea, stomach aches or nausea. A varied diet and plenty of water can help.
  • Dizziness or feeling lightheaded
  • Mouth ulcers

If you are struggling with any of these withdrawal/recovery symptoms, or they are not going away, talk to your doctor or call the Quitline for advice.