Get support. No matter what you eat, how much you exercise, or how much you smoke, it can be difficult to change a long-term habit. You do not have to do it yourself. With the support of friends, family and professionals, you are more likely to succeed.

If you use a combination of treatment and professional help to stop smoking, your chances of successfully quitting will increase by about 3 times.

Visit the Smokefree website for free specialist smoking cessation services near you.

Stop smoking treatment

Nicotine replacement therapy

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) comes in various forms and helps to eliminate the urge to smoke. It can be obtained from your doctor or your local smoking cessation service on a prescription or from a pharmacy. All treatments release nicotine into the bloodstream safely.

Treatments include patches, gums, sprays, lozenges and inhalers. The patches release nicotine slowly. Other treatments work faster. Your smoking cessation service, doctor or pharmacist can help you choose the best product for you. E-cigarettes are also a form of nicotine replacement therapy. They are more effective than other products, but you have to buy them yourself, and they can still carry certain risks during long-term use. Other NRT products are risk-free.

For most people, the best approach is to combine the two types of NRT. Typically, this means patching to provide a background level of NRT and a product that has a faster effect, such as using a chewing gum, inhaler, or nasal spray when desired. Therapy usually lasts 8-12 weeks, you can gradually reduce the dose and stop.

Other drugs that stop smoking

There are 2 more drugs available in the NHS: varenicline (Champix) and buproprion (Zyban). Both can double your chances of stopping. Recent studies show that varenicline is more effective and more potent than NRT. Ask your doctor about this.

I have used nicotine substitutes and have found e-cigarettes to be really helpful while driving. It was very helpful to talk to the nurse about quitting during the operation. He kept encouraging me.Chris, who left 4 years ago

What about the use of e-cigarettes (vaping)?

The use of e-cigarettes (vaping) is 20 times less harmful to health than smoking. You can find the e-cigarette and e-liquid type that best suits your needs, but your local smoking cessation service can also advise you and provide additional support and medication.

Smoking is 20 times more harmful to your health than vaping

When you completely switch from smoking to vaping, you are likely to reap significant health benefits. There are now more than 1.5 million people in the UK who have stopped smoking with the help of e-cigarettes.

If possible, it is best to stop smoking, especially if you have lung disease. If you smoke for a long time, it is still unclear whether any of the many types of e-cigarettes are harmful. But it is better for your health to continue smoking than to return to smoking!

How do I know if I’m ready to quit?

Fill out our online form to remind yourself why you want to go out. You can print it out and save it where you can see it.

Fill out the online application

When you’re ready to quit smoking – have a plan

Think of situations that may entice you, and find ways to overcome them. For example: ‘If I’m with my smoking friends, I’ll leave the room.’

Our main tips to stop smoking

  • Choose a date to stop and you will not smoke from that day. Tell your family and friends and plan something fun to keep your mind away from it.
  • Ask your friends and family for support. If someone close to you is thinking of stopping, why not stop at the same time to support each other?
  • Throw away anything that reminds you of smoking at home or at work.
  • Call yourself a non-smoker and think of yourself as a smoker.
  • Think about the possible withdrawal symptoms and how to deal with it.

We set off after Christmas. I decided it was a good time to stop because I would stay away from places where I smoked. It has become a natural habit to go out the back door to smoke.

I smoked my last cigarette before we left and never looked back. Judith

Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or local smoking cessation service for advice on treatment to stop smoking.

Next: How soon will I feel better? >

Download our smoking cessation information (230KB, PDF)