NHS Bristol Smokefree

Some helpful tips ..


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The first two weeks of quitting are usually the toughest, but the cravings for a cigarette will pass. 
In the meantime, here are some tips on dealing with urges to smoke:

Coping with cravings

As well as using your nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or medication, use the '4 Ds' technique:


  • Delay acting on the urge to smoke — the urge will pass in a few minutes
  • Deep breathing — take a long slow breath in and out - do this three times
  • Drink water — slowly sip a drink of water
  • Do something else — block your thoughts about smoking by doing something else

Anticipate and make a plan to cope with stress

It’s normal to feel stressed and irritable at first. Being prepared with strategies to handle this will help you stay smokefree.

Decide what works best for you — a relaxation technique, getting some fresh air or doing something calming like listening to music.

Avoid situations that tempt you to light up

Until it becomes easier to control your urges to smoke, try to avoid situations you associate with smoking, eg, social events where people drink and smoke. Alcohol is a common ‘trigger’ which also affects your judgment, making it easier to give in to cravings.

Change your daily routines

Which cigarette of the day was the hardest to stop? After a meal? Mid-morning with coffee?

Change your routine so that you don't associate meals or coffee breaks with smoking .. for example, go for a walk after dinner rather than sitting at the table.

It also helps to keep your hands busy — text a friend, use an inhalator .. or play with a stress ball!

Go easy on caffeine

It’s best to reduce your caffeine intake. As your body eliminates nicotine it absorbs more caffeine, so your normal levels of caffeine from coffee, tea and chocolate may contribute to feeling jittery.

Recovering from a slip

If you slip up and have one cigarette, it doesn’t mean you have to go back to smoking and undo all the progress you’ve made so far.

Keep trying — your body has started to recover and each day without a cigarette is good news for your health.

Remember, quitting smoking is a process.

Focus on one day at a time, and don’t give up just because of a slip.