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Staying quit can be challenging at first but it gets much easier over time.

In the first two to four weeks most people experience strong cravings and need to put in daily work to stay quit.

For most people, withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, sleep disruption and cravings will have subsided after the first few weeks and most people start to enjoy whole days free of cravings or thoughts of smoking.

After a month or so you may still get the odd craving from time to time, especially when you find yourself in situations where you used to smoke. The ideas here can help you stay on track.

Remind yourself of all the health benefits of staying quit to motivate you. Find out how your body can recover more and more the longer you stay quit.

Managing the first few days

The first few days of quitting are often the most challenging as you’re likely to have strong regular cravings due to both nicotine withdrawal and triggers in your daily routine.

What to expect

Being prepared and knowing what to expect can make things easier.

As the days pass the urge to smoke will occur less and less often and grow weaker until you’re not thinking of smoking for days, then weeks, then months at a time.

Withdrawal symptoms typically last two to four weeks (and sometimes longer) as your body adjusts to being free of nicotine. If you have more severe or longer lasting symptoms, it can be helpful to discuss them with a Quitline counsellor or health professional, or consider using nicotine replacement therapy or quitting medication. For more tips go to Craving a Cigarette Right Now?

More tips:

  • Keep motivated by reminding yourself of all the reasons why you are quitting; keep a list handy for moments when your mind turns to smoking.
  • Keep occupied and have lots of distractions at hand to help you focus your mind away from smoking thoughts.
  • Remember, a craving will usually fade away in a few minutes, so deal with each one as it comes and practice the 4Ds (Delay acting on the craving for five minutes and it will usually pass, Deep breathe, Drink water, or Do something else).
  • Lean on your supports to distract you from cravings and to keep you motivated. And remind yourself that you’re getting closer and closer to a time when you’ll be happier and healthier and free of smoking thoughts.