Giving up smoking

Going it alone

Some people had successfully stopped smoking without using any medical or complementary approaches. They just stopped - some called it going ‘cold turkey’. Some didn’t even tell their friends and family that they were giving up.
A change in routine often helps, as when people were on holiday somewhere else or when they didn’t have to go to work. Andy, and others, felt that the cravings would be partly due to nicotine withdrawal and partly due to the way smoking was built into their usual routine.
Some people like Peter found that it helped to tell others that they were trying to quit, so making it a public decision, others like Abdul wanted to give up ‘quietly’ in private.
People we talked to often mentioned willpower, whichever quitting method they tried. Tom (above) reasoned that if he lacked the willpower to stop smoking without help he probably couldn’t do it with it. So it was best to try alone, though he didn’t really know if he was being ‘pig-headed’ or lazy in not wanting to attend a stop smoking group.

Needing extra support

Others who tried to give up by themselves had found it too difficult. In the end they had given up with the help of self-help materials, behaviour counselling, NRT or medication. Realising that they preferred additional support was an important step for many. Carol thought you had to be a ‘very strong personality’ to quit by yourself. Caroline tried going cold turkey but she missed smoking too much manage it.

​Last reviewed August 2018.

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