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Help and advice on quitting smoking

Little ‘tricks' to help you manage without cigarettes

Those wishing to quit smoking often ask if there are any 'tricks' they can use to do so.  Methods and treatments of proven effectiveness - such as medical consultations, nicotine replacement therapy, bupropion and varenicline - should not be confused with practical tips, that scientists call coping skills.

To have the best possible chance of succeeding in smoking cessation, a method of proven efficacy and a strong motivation are necessary. Only under these conditions do the tips and tricks become really useful. In practice, each person must find the combination of method-motivation-tips that suits them.  Here is a list of practical tips that have proved useful for some people as part of their smoking cessation.

In case of cravings:

  • It is effective to send yourself positive messages: «If I hold out for another five minutes, the urge will have passed» (true: a craving to smoke lasts only 3 - 5 minutes, then goes away on its own until the next episode; the more days that pass the rarer the episode become).
  • Chew a stick of gum - ideally nicotine gum if you have some to hand - or sugar-free candy or a stick of licorice root. Drink a glass of water.
  • Take a deep breath, fill your lungs with air slowly, hold the breath for a few seconds, then exhale slowly and repeat this 3 times. Relaxed abdominal breathing helps to oxygenate the brain and also helps us to relax quickly. It is strongly recommended for stress management.
  • Eat some fruit or a diet yogurt or brush your teeth.

If that is not enough:

  • Stop what you are doing and leave the room where you are.
  • Keep your hands busy with something e.g. a small rubber ball, three small balls the size of cherries...
  • Go for a walk, go running or do a few exercises (stretching, abs...)
  • Close your eyes and imagine yourself on vacation somewhere
  • Take a shower