It’s easy to stop smoking

Steven Aitchison
Written by Steven Aitchison

It has been around 18 months since I gave up smoking and every time I meet
a smoker they always ask how I did it. I have to say it took me three
times before I eventually gave up for good.

There were lots of different factors that led me to even start thinking about
giving up; however the main one was my own health. Other reasons included
my children, they kept telling me I was going to die and got quite distressed
about it; the smell in the house; the smell on my clothes; feeling like a leper
when going outside to smoke. There are a million reasons to give up and
only one reason to continue and that is addiction.

I used to tell myself I could give up if I really wanted to but I didn’t
want to. The truth is I did want to but felt it would be too hard
and I didn’t want to fail, so it was easier to say I enjoyed it too much. I
enjoyed the supposed feeling it gave me after dinner, with a cup of tea, whilst
having a drink etc. However when I realised it was me who was creating
this feeling and not the cigarettes things started to change in my way of thinking.

your_ritualsI began telling myself it was easy to give up smoking and after about 2 months
I gave up for good and haven’t looked back since. I worked on my
belief system about giving up smoking and convinced myself it was going to
be easy and when the time came it was easy.

My tips for giving up smoking would be:

  • Give yourself compelling reasons to give up, don’t do it for other
    people, and do it for yourself.
  • Set a date about 2 months in advance of when you will give up and tell
    yourself every day you are going to give up on that day.
  • Don’t try patches or gum with nicotine in it. Once you
    told yourself for two months when you will give up just give up
  • Tell yourself every day it is easy to give up smoking; your brain will
    really start to believe it after a month or so.
  • Tell your friends and family you will be giving up on ‘that date’,
    this gives you a little pressure and shows your friends and family you are
  • Break the old patterns of behaviour surrounding your smoking e.g. if you
    smoked after your dinner at night, go for a walk instead or go clean the
    bathroom. Pretty soon your mind will get out of the old habit and start
    forming new habits.

It is easy to give up smoking, however we have been conditioned to believe
the opposite is the case. Our mind will believe whatever we tell it to
believe and adjust our physiology and cravings accordingly. When you
tell yourself it is easy to give up smoking for two months, it will be very
easy on the day to give up, you have to believe it.


Some Amazing Comments


About the author


  • I think you all missed the point of the article, I’m trying now and will stick with the advice that its easy

  • Gave up for 3 week’s today,after 25 years,cold turkey is the only way and it really is all down to your self,my tip is wait for a real strong craving then wait for the extreme pain that follows,expect that pain and brace yourself for the worst pain you have ever felt! Oh and then when the pain never occurs the craving will have gone!try it!

  • I would love some reflections or feedback from someone. I have had a second attempt to quit. The hard part was not the nicotine withdrawal, but that I became depressed and unmotivated to do anything I did while smoking: such as training every day and studying. My energy level dropped and I froze in intertia. I want to try again because I am convinced that it is the best thing I can do for myself: but is there any way to prepare so that I don’t fall into that nightmare state of being when I let it go again. I would really appreciate some advice here. Thanks.

  • Quitting Smoking is not an easy task, but it is a task worthwhile pursuing. Some people can just quit cold turkey, while others need help, so get whatever help you need–You will be glad you did.


  • nov 3 2012
    I am 43 and have been smoking for almost 25 years. of late i have been restless and breathless,and smoking doesnt help at all. Hence i have decided to quit. I havent smoked since morning. lets see how it goes. I liked your suggestions and will try to follow them. Though i have bought a pack of gums i havent required it still. lets see???!!!!

    • Dear Sanjay,It can be done!I felt as you did 8days ago,I used the mantra ‘I do not smoke,I do not smoke’ repetitively each time smoking crossed my mind. So far it has worked for me,I have been a heavy smoker for 33 yrs I am now 48.I keep thinking how bad I felt & smelled,my hair,my clothes,my mouth,my home. All these things help to keep me from slipping back into the habit. I know it’s early days yet but at least I am trying! If you still have Quit Well Done, if you’ve had a setback,Try Again!-It’s estimated that it takes around 5 genuine failed attempts to Quit for good! :) Good luck!

  • been smoking for 6 years, smoked a cigarette one day and i was completly out of breath afterwards, i quit piece of cake i just didnt want it anymore =]

    best tips that helped me:
    1) say no.
    2) the craving dont get worse than they already were, and after smoking i didnt feel any better.
    3) just dont put a cigarette in your mouth, simple as that.

    • My customers would beg to differ. The truth is, you only continue to want a cigarette so long as you have the beliefs that you had while smoking. When you change the right set of key beliefs, nicotine addiction stops, and so does desire for any cigarette or nicotine. Permanently and completely.

    • That’s not true. Re-wire your brain to bypass the “want” and “need”. Problem solved. It worked for me.

  • I quit because i just didnt want to smoke anymore and it was eazy..You have to really want to quit smoking to be succesfull..The first 2 days I got urges alot but after that it was only maby a couple times a day and after a week or so i barly got any at all….My uncle tried to quit and and used the patches but it didnt work because the patches continue to put nicotine in your system and you will never get rid of the urges that way….quiting cold turkey is the only way

  • I don’t know exactly how I came across this website. What matters is that after a few unsuccesful attempts to quit,I just thought that convincing myself (therefore my brain) that it’s easy to quit it is happening much more easily than the previous times.I thought about this before visiting this website and from another country (I am from Greece). So I guess it is a method that actually makes sense since other people from around the world have thought it the same way I did. After almost a month without smoking what I now use to convince my brain is that I’ve never been a smoker before and it makes a huge difference in how easily you can cope with addiction.Good luck to everyone I hope I’ve been useful!

    • Thanks for sharing Thanos! I am doing it exactly the same way as you & could not agree more. It is now 8 days since I smoked,& I am ready to convince myself that I have never been a smoker.I’ll see how I get on,I can’t believe after smoking heavily for 33yrs I am convincing myself so well! I hope you are still doing well 😀

  • I had been having nightmares about the stains on my teeth. Really. It became so conspicuous and uncomfortable that when I finally had them cleaned at the dentist the craving to smoke simply stopped. I don’t know how to explain it and I don’t know if I’ll backslide at some point. But having such visible evidence of the fallout of smoking really did one on me. It turned out that the desire to no longer be conscious about my breath or the colour of my teeth was the motivation my brain needed to shift gears.

  • I used to smoke reds in the states for 3 years. when i moved back to my country, i had to stay with my parents, and plus my lifestyle and HABITS changed completely. It was no struggle or whatsoever, it is difficult to quit if you make a big deal out of it. Dont make your intentions public. Good tip is, to try to create a disgust towards second hand smoke, this will make you naturally not want to smoke. now i love to say “I quit” whenever someone offers a cigarette. people it is easy. I especially suggest this to someone who is moving or changing their surroundings. it is easier to create new smoke free habits like this.

  • I stopped smoking 7 days ago. Haven’t had a single craving. Took 3 weeks to convince myself (my mind) to quit. Once I was convinced it was easy to quit. Did the same thing with other substances as well. I believe that craving is nothing but a split mind of two “voices” fighting “Do it”, “Don’t”, “Do it”, Don’t”. There is no mental arguing going on once I have made a decision in which no compromise is accepted. It’s all in the mind.

  • Great post. Changing your attitude about any activity is key to affecting a change in that behavior or stopping it altogether.

    Guess who benefits the most from telling you that quitting smoking is next to impossible? The cigare$$e companies, toba$$o growers, and yes… even the ni$$tine-replacement product companies. All of them are in bed together and have co-marketing agreements. It suits THEM perfectly to say quitting nicotine is extremely difficult. Of course, nicotine is a very addictive drug, but if you can shrug off the relatively minor withdrawal symptoms (compared to hard drugs like heroine) that wane off within a few days to a few weeks, and can change your attitude that you are not “missing out” on any special experience, you will be fine.

    No one likes cigarettes when they first try them…it’s simply an unpleasant experience that provides you nothing because nicotine hasn’t taken its hold yet on the brain yet. Inhaling smoke is counter to human physiology– that’s why we cough up so much and feel ill when we first try them. What has taken a hold on the brain is impressions from all those years of exposure to adults who smoked and from marketing propaganda. We continue and continue to smoke thereby eventually addicting OURSELVES to nicotine because there simply must be something gratifying about it since so many people we watch growing up and on TV seem to get something special out of it, right? Our mindset is flawed from the very beginning because of strong social forces so we commit ourselves to the habit before we even enjoy it! I’m gonna LEARN to like these cigs, damn it! But how many do we need to smoke to realize that we’ll never achieve any true satisfaction in doing so? Smoking is an inherently unsatisfying activity that fuels its own necessity. There is absolutely 0 gained from it, and there is so much to lose.

    • No offense my friend, but the tobacco companies denied that cigarettes were addictive for a long time. It is NOT in their best interest to have a product portrayed as being as addictive as heroin. It is the absolute truth for the great majority of people that quitting is difficult, and saying that it’s “easy” is incredibly discouraging, at least in my eyes.

      • I completely disagree. One of the things that made me delay quitting was all the talk of how hard it was and how it was the most difficult thing people had ever done.


        More difficult than burying a parent? More difficult than being physically bullied as a child? More difficult than losing your job or working for an abusive boss?

        Only by realizing that it is not as difficult as many other things did I get the courage to even try. The expectation of difficulty is much worse than the actual difficulty.

  • Well today is my first day,and I woke this morning and said to myself lets quit.
    I am 43 yrs old and have been smoking for about 22yrs now. I have been smoking about 30 cigarettes a day and lately I am starting to feel the effects of all those years smoking. My reasons for quitting are mainly health and financial reasons. Also it is becomming more and more antisocial and I dont like feeling like a lepper when I have to go outside to feed my addiction.
    I have tried to quit in the past , and was smoke free for 5 months at one time .
    I restarted , why ??……well I stupidly thought that I could have just one cigarette and it wouldnt bother me. I was wrong , one led to another and before I knew what was happening and only after a few days I found myself in a shop buying a pack again.
    I have learned one thing from that experience and that is this.
    It is easy to give up smoking especially that first cigarette, dont think about all the others you will not smoke just that first one. Tell yourself today I will not smoke and dont think of not smoking tomorrow, This is what I am doing today and hopefully will wake up tomorrow and think the same way. I am taking it a day at the time ,like I did before. But this time I have learned that the easiest cigarette to say NO to , is the first one.

  • I’ve been stopped for 4 weeks, after smoking 20 a day for the last 30 years. To get my head around the idea of stopping in the first place, i looked at all the bad things smoking does to your body, the internet shows some terrible diseases which smokers die from … they say 50% of smokers will die from a smoking related disease. So you have a 50/50 chance of dying from something which you can prevent.
    My auntie is on an oxygen machine for about 8 hours per day. she stopped smoking 1 year ago after being diagnosed with COPD. She told me that stopping smoking was the best thing she ever did. Made me realise the importance of making the decision sooner rather than later so i could enjoy the benefits of stopping before being confined to using oxygen. I know many many other people, friends & relatives who have died from smoking related diseases, the most recent being my great auntie who died from lung cancer.
    I don’t want to have to go through receving medical treatment for some horrific smoking disease. I don’t want to put my family through having to hear from me that i am suffering from some terminal illness caused by smoking. I got my ciggies duty free from Spain, but they had run out so i was about to start paying full price & giving loads of tax to the government.
    I realised there are no benefits to smoking. And the very small things that people say it does do are simply not true, for example – it does not help you concentrate, it does the opposite – you are driven to distraction until you get your nicotine fix.
    What i get from stopping – taste, smell, warmth (i cannot believe how warm my toes are now), energy, deep breaths, feeling (much more feeling in my fingers & toes), freedom (not thinking/planning everything around an addiction). The benefits are immeasurable. And to be honest (yes i may fail & smoke again but) looking back over the past 4 weeks, it’s been relatively easy. I’ve no tobacco products in my house & none of my friends smoke. I have a pack of nicotine gum, which i’ve not used, but it’s there if i want it.
    It’s an emotional experience, but it’s one that has made me a stronger person. I know that i could have caved in at any point, but i am relieved the feeling to stay stopped was stronger than the desire to breath smoke into my lungs.
    I have treated myself to lots of things, expensive handbag, ghd’s, a weekend break with friends, if i want something now i will get it – i deserve it. I have started to take more care of my appearance, my family have been supportive.
    I agree with my auntie, its the best thing i’ve ever done – and i hope i can enjoy the recovering process for many many years to come.
    Be brave & take control.

  • As a smoker I am finding that I am addicted to the act of smoking as much as I am the smoke itself. I crave picking something up, putting it in my mouth, stomping it out. I need to have something to do with my hands and I find myself using cigarettes as “thinking” aids.

    I am hoping that the newest product out will help me with this. They are called vaporizers, have you heard of them? I am going to try them and even wrote a post about them. if you are as addicted to the act of smoking as I am they my help.

    I have also started a simple program to help save other lives by helping buy and distribute vaporizers to other smokers that need or want to quit. People on oxygen that still smoke are d-a-n-g-e-r-o-u-s and vaporizers can stop or at least greatly reduce people blowing themselves up while on oxygen.
    .-= Richard´s last blog ..Save Your Life, Then Save Another Life… =-.

  • I’m not a smoker so I can’t possibly understand the mental torment that smokers go through when trying to give it up. I have managed to give up certain foods for the sake of my health, but it wasn’t as though I was eating 20 packs of potato crisps/chips a day, starting when I first woke up, needing one after a meal or with a drink, etc, so not really the same kind of giving up.

    My husband is in process of trying to give up smoking, he’s been a smoker since his early teens, that makes him a smoker for nearly 40 years. He did manage to give up for two months, but then we moved house and there were other emotive family issues, so he went back to smoking again.

    He’s tried several times since then, but only managed about five days at a time, before caving in. The problem is that he is in ill-health, so he can’t just go for a walk everytime he gets a craving. He is very limited as to what activities he can do to take his mind off a craving. Going on the computer stresses him out, so he can’t do it then. Anything requiring concentration, ditto.

    I know it’s all about mindset but when someone is denied the opportunities of being able to go for walks or engage in other activities, it makes giving up a lot harder. Any suggestions for other non-physical activities?

  • Its damn easy. After about 2 years of 3 packs a week i just randomly made a bet . its been 7 months and been clean since. no issues.
    i dont have a problem when others smoke around me. been there done that….bored now.
    Like he said…its a myth that quitting is difficult. The addiction is ONLY in your mind.
    Believe me, you will get a feeling of power over yourself after quitting which is better than any high anything else can induce.
    Be free
    live long and prosper

    • There is a BIG difference between having been a 3 pack a week smoker over the course of 2 years compared to someone who has been smoking for 20+ years, at a pack or more per day.

    • 3 packs a week? I mean, well done for quitting, but of corse it wont be THAT difficult for you if your smoking such a small amount!

  • I have just quit 10 days ago.
    It is not easy to quit smoking I made up my mind on a friday and quit at 12 midnight Sunday. I put a patch on on Monday morning and every morning since ,if they take the edge of why not give yourself every chance of suceeding chew gum as well if you want.
    It has to be easier to give up that gum and the patches than cigs.

    If you fail you fail. Start again next Monday morning or start again directly after you fail that is when you finish that fag.

    I dont know if there is an easy way 40+ years smoking there is too much to change just get on with it. again and again and again…!!!???fV€K it.

    I havent failed yet but I might and it won’t stop me trying.

  • I gave up 2 months ago. Cold turkey, no patches or gum is the best way. The difference this time than on previous occasions was that I WANTED to give up. Really wanted too. Plus I had just moved into a house of non smokers and felt terrible popping out and coming back in stinking. Apart from hopeful health effects the best thing about giving up for me is being able to wear the same sweater for days and days if i want and it not smelling. It still has not fully sunk in that I am now a non smoker. Best thing I ever did. If I have one slight regret it’s not doing it 15 years ago.

  • Those are very good ideas, powerfully presented. I liked the way you thought about how easy it was going to be to stop. During the get ready phase, this is the idea that I suggest my clients think frequently: “I wonder how easy it will be to stop smoking.” If this thought is remembered frequently for a few weeks before stopping smoking, some clients breeze through the quitting process.

  • Good write up. I have quit smoking I just cant come up with one good reason to caryy on smoking. When you think about it its such a primative thing to do. Tobacco companys are just robbing us not to mention the tax man, and i work hard for my money so will not waste it on smokes again

  • You are so right about it being easy to quit smoking. We have been conditioned our whole lives (whether we are smokers or not) that it is difficult to quit, so we believe it. Heck, why does a non-smoker tell a smoker it is difficult to quit – how do they know? It is all in the mind and it is all about changing our mindset.

  • I believe it is all in our mind. If we really want to stop smoking, I feel that we can do it mentally. But not everyone has strong mind to resist the cravings. This when they need some aids to overcome the urge.

  • Some great tips – the one that really made a big different when I stopped was changing behaviour patterns. I always had a smoke after a meal (any meal) so instead I would go for a short walk, and take something with me to keep my fingers occupied. I started with a rubics cube (showing my age now) but anything that keeps your fingers working helps take your mind off the cigarette.

  • This are no doubt great and useful tips. However, I feel that giving a 2 months period may take too long. I have friends that do that and because they think they gonna give up smoking soon, they smoke 2 times more then usual during the last phase.

    In the end, they still could not get rid of the addiction.

  • Those are great tips. I believe them to be good since they came from experience. I have several friends who wanted to quit a long time ago but could. I guess this post will inpire them into giving up eventually.

  • It’s really hard to give up on something, especially if you are addicted to it. But I like your attitude about the whole giving up thing. You were ready to change for the good of everybody and yourself. We need a positive outlook in life for us to develop.

    • I help people stop smoking and I’ve found that there is enormous power in
      words. So, when I hear people say “I’m going to give up” smoking I know that they are in for a struggle. Giving up something insinuates that you are sacrificing or being deprived of something. Absolutely not. You are getting control back in your life. If people think that they are being deprived, or they hang on to that “deprived” feeling, they have a 95%
      chance to going back to smoking. The body follows the mind.
      All my best-
      Dr Terry Gibson

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  • I wish I had seen this when I quit. I stopped about a year ago now and while it was easier than I thought it might be, I’d have loved to use this method. I found in my experience that it was the habitual cigarettes that got me. That one after dinner, or first thing in the morning were the keys to quitting. The minute I rid myself of those habits it became a cake-walk to throw it away completely, no gum or patches.

    I hope others get good use out of this and help themselves quit. I enjoyed the habit, but the effects were awful. Bravo for spreading this method.


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