Quit smoking How to quit smoking: six techniques to help October 07 2015
Dinethra Menon Dinethra Menon Journalist

Have you been repeatedly trying to quit smoking and find you’re smoking again within a few days? Perhaps it’s time to try a something different.

Quitting cold turkey doesn’t work for everyone. If you want to know how to quit smoking, you understanding the nature of addiction and how to beat it can help. While there’s no magic formula to quitting smoking, the trick is to find a method that works for you. 

If you’re sick of the negative health effects of smoking, here are six commonly used methods to help you kick the habit once and for all.
 
Keep in mind that everyone is different so why not try a combination of one or more of these methods to help you start your quitting journey?

1.  Cold turkey

Stopping smoking completely is considered an effective and cheap way to give up cigarettes. It can also be the hardest method and requires a great deal of resolve, as it relies heavily on your inner strength. 
 
“To be able to stop smoking without any intervention is in the mindset of the smoker themselves,” says Bupa’s National Medical Director, Dr Rob Grenfell.
 
“Simple shifts in behaviours, such as moving from smoking to non-smoking areas, or a daily mantra reminding you not to smoke, can help you quit completely.”

You may want to talk to people who have quit cold turkey before. They can tell you how to give up smoking without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on support groups and other aids. 

2.  Individual and group counselling

Psychotherapists and addiction counselors are great resources for anyone who wants to learn how to give up smoking. In some cases, they may recommend nicotine gum and other products, but can usually help patients simply by giving their support and reminding them about the consequences of smoking. 

Motivational or group counselling from professionals can be a supportive method of quitting. Counselling provides a human element to motivate you, allowing you to compare notes and war stories with other smokers, and learn tried and true strategies to manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
 
Coaching can cost more money than other methods, but when used in combination with another, cheaper method, such as cold turkey, it can give you an extra push. Counsellors offer great insights for anyone who is struggling to learn how to quit smoking. When choosing a coach or counsellor consider their qualifications and experience, how much support you want, costs, and whether you prefer coaching in person, by phone, or online.

3.  Quitline

Quitline is a useful resource for smokers trying to quit. For the cost of a local call (or more if calling from a mobile) you can talk to a trained advisor who can offer you support during the process.

Research has found that 40 per cent of smokers who used Quitline’s call-back service have successfully quit smoking. Quitline also provides a vast amount of information online about how to quit smoking including managing setbacks and staying smokefree.

 

Quit day written on a calendar

4.  Nicotine replacement therapies and medication

Nicotine replacement therapies supply low doses of nicotine, so when you stop smoking they help the body adjust to the withdrawal from nicotine, and reduce the craving for cigarettes. They are available without a prescription from pharmacies and supermarkets and are available as nicotine gum, patches, lozenges, inhalers and tablets.

Prescription medications – bupropion (Zyban, Clorpax) and varenicline (Champix) are available with a prescription on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for people enrolled in a support and counselling program for quitting smoking.
 
“These products offer assistance for heavy smokers who have strong nicotine dependence,” says Dr Grenfell. “They may not be suited to smokers who smoke fewer than ten cigarettes a day.”
 
While nicotine gum and other nicotine replacement products can cost money, they are unlikely to cost more than your monthly smoking habit.

5.  Alternative therapies

Many smokers have turned to alternative techniques to quit. While they can be effective, scientific evidence is mixed or inconclusive, and the therapies can be costly.
 
“Although hypnotherapy and acupuncture have shown borderline research effectiveness, they can work well for some people and are best used in combination with another method,” Dr Grenfell says.

6.  Apps

Using personalised apps can be an innovative way of giving up smoking. Best used in combination one of the other methods, they can provide positive reinforcements or act as a reminder of counselling appointments.
 
Apps can also help smokers quit by tracking your smoke-free days and dollars saved.
 
If you try one of these methods and it doesn’t help you quit, don’t give up. It’s worthwhile trying another one or different combinations, with the help and support of your health care professionals, until you find a method that works for you. Learning how to quit smoking can take some time, but will be well worth the effort. 
 
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Dinethra Menon Dinethra Menon Journalist Dinethra Menon is a freelance health and medical writer based in Sydney.