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Stop Smoking - Start Living

One in every two smokers will die of a tobacco related disease. Don’t be the one! Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do to for your health. Don’t spend the rest of your life chained to a nicotine addiction. Thousands of people kick the habit every year, and you can be one of them. It may not be easy, but you can do it! Start your journey today toward a smoke-free healthier life.

Impact of Smoking

Sadly, tobacco smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death worldwide and kills more than 22,000 Australians every year. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of cancers, debilitating, long-term lung diseases like emphysema and chronic bronchitis and smokers are four times morelikely to die of heart disease. Life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than that of non-smokers. That’s why it’s so important to quit. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you have smoked for, quitting can help you live longer and be healthier

Benefits of Quitting Smoking

It’s never too late to quit using tobacco. The sooner you quit, the more you can reduce your chances of getting cancer, heart attack, stroke and other chronic diseases. Kicking the tobacco habit offers some rewards that you’ll notice right away and some that will show up over time.

Within minutes of smoking your last cigarette, your body begins to recover:

20 minutes after quitting

Your heart rate and blood pressure recover from the nicotine-induced spikes.

12 hours after quitting

The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

2 weeks to 3 months after quitting

Your circulation improves and your lung function increases up to 30%.

1 to 9 months after quitting

Coughing and shortness of breath decrease. Tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs (called cilia) start to regain normal function in your lungs, increasing their ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.

1 year after quitting

The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of someone who still smokes. Your heart attack risk drops dramatically.

5 years after quitting

Your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder is cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Your stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2 to 5 years.

10 years after quitting

Your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. Your risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases.

15 years after quitting

Your risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.


Here are some more incentives:
  • Your sense of taste and smell returns to normal.
  • Your breath, hair, clothes and home will smell better.
  • The stains on your teeth and fingernails will fade.
  • Helps stop the damaging effects of tobacco on how you look, including premature wrinkling of your skin, gum disease, and tooth loss.
  • Ordinary activities leave you less out of breath (for example, climbing stairs or light housework).
  • You’ll save hundreds or thousands of dollars a year. Find out how much with this savings calculator:
  • Quitting smoking before the age of 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking-related disease by about 90%. Quitting while you’re younger will reduce your health risks more, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke.


How to Quit Smoking

Many smokers want to quit but aren’t sure about the best way to go about it. There’s lots of free support on offer and by using the support that’s right for you, you’ll be boosting your chance of quitting. Research has shown that you’re 3 times more likely to quit successfully if you use a combination of stop smoking medicine, specialist help and support from your local Stop Smoking Service, but how you chose to quit is up to you. The number of people successfully stopping has increased – you can do it too!

Stop Smoking Methods

Going Cold Turkey

Going cold turkey means that you stop smoking all at once. You have a better chance of success if you make a plan and prepare for nicotine withdrawal. Gradually smoking fewer cigarettes each day can help reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms and make it easier for some people to quit.


Gradually Cutting Down

This method involves slowly reducing the number of cigarettes you’re smoking until you’ve quit completely. It’s not as effective as quitting completely, but it might be a good place to start if you’re not ready to quit right away. You can cut down by slowly increasing the time between cigarettes and reducing the number of cigarettes in your packet each day. It’s still a good idea to set a quit date and work towards that.


Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) comes in different forms and when used properly can make a big difference in helping you quit successfully. All the therapies release nicotine into your bloodstream in a safe way. Therapies include patches, gum, sprays, lozenges and inhalators. For most people the best approach is to combine 2 sorts of NRT. Usually this means a patch to provide a background level of NRT and a faster-acting product, such as gum, inhalator or nasal spray to use when you get cravings. Therapy usually lasts 8-12 weeks before you gradually reduce the dose and stop. NRT products are available from pharmacies and some supermarkets, without a prescription. Some nicotine patches are available at a reduced price through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for all eligible Australians (including concession card holders). Your doctor will need to give you a prescription so it’s best to talk about which products will work best for you.

Prescription Medications

There are other prescription medicines, available through the PBS, that can reduce withdrawal symptoms, such as Bupropion (Zyban) and Varenicline (Champix®). They work by blocking the nicotine receptors in your brain so smoking is less enjoyable. Both can double your chances of stopping. These medicines are not suitable for everybody, so talk to your doctor or health professional to find out whether they’re right for you. There are limits on how many prescriptions you can have in a year, and you may be required to receive support from Quitline or a health professional while you’re quitting. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are eligible for extra help through the PBS.


What about using e-cigarettes (vaping)?

E-cigarette, sometimes called vaping, are battery-operated devices that heat liquid to release an aerosol (vapor) inhaled by the user. The liquid can contain propylene glycol, nicotine, flavorings and other substances. E-cigarettes are sometimes marketed as a way to quit smoking, but there is not enough conclusive scientific evidence that it works. Products delivering chemicals directly to the lung are only approved after extensive evaluation on safety and efficacy. E-cigarettes currently on the market in Australia have not passed through this process and have not been proven safe to use. 


Information Resources

Online Quit Kit is a free quit smoking resource that can be downloaded online. It provides advice on planning and preparing to quit smoking as well as information on tips and strategies to help you quit successfully.

Quit because you can is another online resource that provides advice to help you plan and quit smoking.


Online support

iCanQuit is a free online resource that provides you with tools to help you along your quit journey and allows you to hear the stories of others.

QuitCoach smoking advice is a free online tool that provides you with a personalised quitting plan.

My QuitBuddy is a personalised app to help you quit smoking and track your progress. There is also a community board where you can gain motivation and support from other people quitting.

‘Quit for you – Quit for two’ is a free quit smoking app for mums-to-be that can be downloaded from the Apple iTunes online store or at Google Play store.

The Quit Now Calculator helps you work out how much money you could save if you quit smoking.

Make Smoking History assists smokers to quit by providing them with information and resources to help plain their quit attempt.


Telephone support

Aboriginal Quitline (13 QUIT or 13 7848) provides culturally appropriate and tailored quit smoking services to Aboriginal people. When you call ask you’re an Aboriginal advisor.

Quitline (13 QUIT or 13 7848) is a confidential and individually tailored telephone service to assist you in the process of quitting smoking. NSW Quitline advisors are available Monday to Friday 7am to 10:30pm and Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 9am to 5pm.

Arabic language Quitline call 1300 7848 03

Vietnamese language Quitline call 1300 7848 65

Cantonese/Mandarin language Quitline call 1300 7848 36


Face-to-face support

Call Quitline on 13 7848 (13 QUIT) to ask what local support services are available.

Contact your local hospital or community health centre to find out if they provide quit smoking support

Speak to your local doctor or pharmacist. 


Be Brighter – Put Down the Lighter

It’s not easy – but you can do it. You’re more likely to quit for good if you prepare for the cravings, urges and feelings that come with quitting. These tips will help keep you motivated. Even more, they give you ways to change your behaviour so that you can stop smoking for good.

Think positive

You might have tried to quit smoking before and not managed it, but don’t let that put you off. One of the most important things researchers have learned about quitting smoking is that the smoker needs to keep trying. It may take several serious attempts before a smoker can quit forever. Rather than looking at a slip back to smoking as a failure, it should be considered an opportunity to learn from experience and be better prepared to quit the next time.

Quit Plan

Make a promise, set a date and stick to it. Sticking to the ‘not a drag’ rule can really help. Remember there’s never ‘just one’ cigarette. Prepare for the day you quit and avoid temptation – choose a quit date that’s unlikely to be stressful and make sure you don’t have any cigarettes, lighters or matches on you. Keep busy, and if you find a certain time of day hard, try a new routine. You CAN do it!

Identify Triggers

Be prepared to feel the urge to smoke. It will pass whether you smoke or not – a craving can last 5 minutes. If it occurs out socialising, think about the fact that the combination of smoking and drinking raises your risk of mouth cancer by 38 times.

Ask for Help

Tell your family, friends, and co-workers that you’re going to quit and ask for their support while you’re quitting and after you quit. Those that smoke may like to join you. Explain what a challenge quitting may be and how much help they can be to you. Ask them to help you stay away from cigarettes and to support you in specific ways:

  • Please don’t smoke in the house.
  • Please don’t keep cigarettes in the house.
  • Please don’t smoke in the car.
  • Please don’t smoke around me.
  • Please don’t offer me cigarettes.
  • Please say no if I ask for a cigarette.
Burn Calories, Not Cigarettes

A review of scientific studies has proved exercise, even a 5-minute walk or stretch, cuts cravings and may help your brain produce anti-craving chemicals.

Keep your hands and mouth busy

When you’re out, try putting your drink in the hand that usually holds a cigarette, or drink from a straw to keep your mouth busy. If you like holding a cigarette, there are handheld products like the NRT inhalators that can double your chances of success.

Make a list of reasons to quit

Keep reminding yourself why you made the decision to give up. Make a list of the reasons and read it when you need support.

Content Sources:
  1. Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. The Global Burden of Disease: Generating evidence, guiding policy. Seattle, WA: IHME, 2013.
  2. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health. The health consequences of smoking: A report of the Surgeon General. 2004. Retrieved from:
  3. Smoking – A leading Cause of Death – quitnow. Retrieved from:
  4. Quit – I’m thinking about quitting. Retrieved from: