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Help and advice on quitting smoking

I would like to quit but...

Quitting smoking is not an easy decision to make, especially as the decision involves overcoming a certain number of obstacles. Becoming aware of what it is we actually fear in smoking cessation is an important step towards abstinence, particularly since these fears can be overcome.

I dread the withdrawal symptoms

Know that there are solutions to reduce withdrawal symptoms. Consult our « Coping with withdrawal symptoms » section where a doctor, specialist in smoking cessation, gives advice on dealing with withdrawal symptoms.
The problems caused by the lack of tobacco vary from one person to another; in theory they fade after only 8 to 12 weeks. Nicotine replacement therapy (patches, nicotine gum, lozenges or inhaler) alleviate symptoms or make them disappear. These substitutes double the chances of a successful quit attempt.

I'm afraid of putting on weight

Here is an excerpt from the testimony that Manuella Maury (journalist for Swiss Television - TSR) left on our website:

"(...) when I made the break, I almost immediately regained a sense of freedom. The rest followed. I didn't put on a kilo contrary to everything I had been told. Quitting smoking also marked my return to sport, a shorter ‘happy hour' and finding my taste buds again (...)".

If it is true that certain put on weight after they quit smoking, you should know that this weight gain is usually moderate (3 to 4 kilos on average) and there are many simple and effective techniques for losing or avoiding gaining weight. Eat less fat and less sugar and get more exercise. You will put on weight principally if you eat when you are not hungry. Nicotine replacement therapy (patches, gum, etc.) and some prescription drugs will limit, or at least delay weight gain after smoking cessation. The opinion of Dr. Rodrigo Tango (smoking addiction specialist physician at the University Hospitals of Geneva) is enlightening:

"I have not seen any weight gain in patients taking nicotine replacement therapy provided that the dose is carefully adjusted so that no withdrawal symptoms persist. "

See also the website of l'antenne des diététiciens genevois which is at your disposal to inform you about the links between smoking cessation and weight gain.

When I don't smoke I feel irritable and stressed

The feelings of stress and irritability are caused by nicotine withdrawal. By taking nicotine replacement therapy (patch, gum, lozenge, inhaler) you will find that the discomfort will gradually disappear. In addition, substitutes double your chances of successfully quitting smoking. Hélène's point of view (personal account left on our website) :

"It's 6 months since I stopped smoking, thanks to the patches during the first 2 months, just the time to buy myself some new clothes without suffering from withdrawal symptoms. And then I stopped the patches too and, apart from a little nervousness, everything went off wonderfully well. In fact, my last few years of smoking were completely devoid of pleasure and full of guilt and NOW I REALIZE THAT IT WAS HARDER FOR ME TO SMOKE THAN IT WAS FOR ME TO QUIT!!! Let's stop saying it is so difficult to quit only serves to scare smokers and to discourage them...I finally quit smoking without any outstanding willpower, without gaining more than 2 kilos, and without terrible suffering. The desire to smoke is like a beast that lies in the pit of our bellies and it demands its fix ... It isn't part of us; it was put there and can be taken out. The sooner we cut its food supplies the sooner it will leave. Decreasing cigarette consumption only keeps it alive. I would like my testimony to reassure future ex-smokers about the difficulty of quitting. I live much better since I stopped smoking. I do not have to deal with this guilt towards my children, my health and my wallet. At last I feel in accord with what I'm doing. It's worth making the serious effort required. Forget what you have been told on the subject, try it for yourself. You'll see, it's much easier than expected! "

I will not be able to concentrate

Impaired concentration is indeed a symptom of withdrawal from tobacco. Nicotine replacement therapy (patch, gum lozenges...) help reduce or even eliminate these symptoms. These products double the chances of a successful quit attempt.
Moreover, by reducing the oxygen supply to the brain, smoking reduces intellectual performance.

It's too late now; it's not worth the trouble

If you think that you have been smoking for so long that in any case the damage is done and that quitting is not worth the trouble now - we have some good news for you: you are wrong!!!
Dr. Rodrigo Tango, smoking addiction specialist, tells us:

« I had a patient aged 83 who stopped smoking when he was in perfect health. He told me he did not want to risk a stroke like so many other smokers. »

Whatever your age and the number of years you have smoked, quitting has a beneficial effect on your health. It's never too late to stop smoking. On the contrary, by stopping you will be able to greatly improve your well-being.

I don't want anyone to oblige me to quit

Do you feel pressured by your family, maybe? Or by society? Ultimately, it is always a personal decision and it's by a personal effort that you will manage to quit.
On this site you will find tools and assistance to overcome your doubts and your fears. Talk on the forum or in the chat room, read the personal accounts.
Here are some addresses where you can talk about it:

I will lose my cigarette break

Maybe what you really like about smoking is more that it allows you to take a break than the actual cigarette itself.
The break is a necessary moment, which allows us a rest in which to recharge our batteries. However, you can take a break without a cigarette. To mark a break stretch, have a drink, walk around, eat an apple, or do nothing...
Ask yourself the question: do I have the right to take a break or do I need the excuse of a cigarette to allow myself one?

I don't think I can do it

Many people, among the most highly dependent, have quit successfully.
Read their personal accounts:

Hamid (58 years old) - Swiss - June 22, 2008

"Hello everyone. I would just like to say that I smoked for 40 years and I stopped overnight. This following an illness (pneumonia) that kept me in bed for two weeks with excruciating pain and a fever of 38.9°. Tobacco gave me chronic bronchitis, for years, this in turn gave me pneumonia. Now I cannot stand the smell of cigarettes. It's exactly 45 days since I quit smoking and I feel like I missed a lot because of cigarettes. Finally now I can smell perfumes etc. In addition I had a stuffy nose all the time; heaven knows how much nasal spray I used to unblock my nose. But now all that is over and my nose is no longer blocked. What I mean is if you want to stop smoking, it's all in your head. You just have to want it and to think cigarettes will kill me but it's up to me to kill them (I mean stop smoking) first before they get me. And also to think that there are only bad things in cigarettes. It's all in the head. Thank you"

Delphine (35 years old) - April 19, 2006

"Hello, with this message I want above all to let people know that it is possible to stop smoking. One evening in front of my computer I typed into the search engine: cigarette/cancer and there I read stories and saw pictures that upset me greatly... hundreds of anonymous personal accounts which all said STOP SMOKING...and finally I said to myself STOP PUTTING OF QUITTING...all the time I would say to myself "tomorrow I'll quit" and this has been almost from the day I started smoking (I started in school)...I tried, just to the beginning I counted the hours and each time I had the urge to smoke I would have some nicotine sweets (not gum) to help me stand the ‘withdrawal symptoms'...and then I searched for as much information as possible on the internet: and the more I learned about it the more I wanted to quit today I'm convinced that the lack of information in the media on the dangers of smoking is VOLUNTARY...because it would remove the financial windfall that this plague, cigarette smoking, surely is ...just be aware that the lack of nicotine makes itself felt after just 20 minutes which is why smokers experience withdrawal so quickly...if you break this vicious circle nicotine withdrawal disappears very quickly (within a few days) and only psychological withdrawal remains to be dealt with, which is means getting in touch with your inner self again: stopping smoking is starting to love yourself...and refusing to make the tobacco industry any richer! YOU CAN DO IT's more than 6 months since I stopped abusing my lungs!"

If Delphine and Hamid were successful, it should be possible for you too. You can do it! Look around you, you are certain to know many ex-smokers.

Many people think that willpower alone is sufficient. We believe that this is not true, that to begin the process of quitting requires a particular know-how. This knowledge is presented in this website. Most smokers can manage to quit provided that they are sufficiently well prepared and know where and how to find help.

...I'll stop one day but not right now

Maybe you think: "I'll stop on New Year's Day, or when I have passed my exams, or found work..." Just be aware that it will not be any easier to quit later. Do not wait to be ill from a tobacco related disease. Set a quit date within the next few days and stick to it.
The following three messages, submitted by site users in our Guestbook, should encourage you:

Fanfan 06/08/2008

"I became an ex-smoker 5 years ago and sincerely without this site I wouldn't have made it; lots of mutual assistance and caring, a true family very, very supportive and this is one of the main ingredients of success."

Banane 19/08/2008

"Hi to you all...Not had a cigarette since July 17, 2007; and of course more than ever I don't want to smoke!! Already 13 months and what a pleasure to stand firm and no longer want to...Saved 400 Euros, the journey is almost paid! Good luck to you, hang on in there, it's possible to do it..."

Simone 11/07/2008

It's almost 50 days since I quit smoking cigarettes, those false friends who accompanied me for many years. It's time for me to thank you, for your wonderful website is really excellent for someone who is really motivated. We can read everything on it (the number of cigarettes we haven't smoked, our increase in life expectancy and the economies made from quitting), understand everything (how it was possible to let ourselves be trapped, how to stop, how to stop feeling guilty, how to act in case of a relapse and a load of other things). It is true that you can't give up smoking for me, only I can do it- but you have been, and still are, the ones I turn to every evening when I check the benefits I have gained to reinforce my motivation. And it's like a firework display of well-being that I have found again. Thank you very, very much from France."