Image showing hand saying no to a cigarette as part of National No Smoking Day

10 Ways to Help you Stop Smoking – No Smoking Day

It’s that time of year again! And, will National No Smoking Day on 9 March encourage you to give up smoking?

We have looked at 10 ways to see which will work best to help you in your desire to give up smoking.

by Emma Johnson

In 1948, 82% of men and 41% of women in Great Britain smoked, mainly cigarettes but also pipes and cigars. By 2019 about 15% of adults in Great Britain smoked. Although the number of smokers has steadily reduced, it is still the primary cause of preventable illness and premature death.

The Stats

No smoker wants really to hear the stats, and many won’t see a link but they are there.  It is directly attributable to approximately 74,600 deaths a year in England. Contrary to what we may believe, it doesn’t just affect older people. The ONS found that smoking led to over 500,000 NHS hospital admissions in the 35 and over age group during 2019-20. In fact, it costs the NHS £2.5 billion a year.

How to Give Up

Everyone knows you have to want to give up smoking for it succeed, however these tips will help you to get on your way.

1. Set a date

Decide when you are going to give up, set the date, stick to it and do not budge! It won’t be easy and when you find yourself thinking ‘just one puff’ distract yourself!

2. Medication

  • Prescription medication can help by reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) provides you with nicotine to satisfy your cravings without the harmful chemicals. It comes as patches, gums and nasal sprays. Your doctor can prescribe it or you can buy it over the counter
  • Vapes/ E-cigarettes are electronic devices that deliver nicotine in a vapour that you inhale. Although it is thought to be less harmful than smoking, more long-term research is needed. Trading Standards has raised some concerns in the past about some cheap imports.
Clearly, these are good choices but treatments tend to be more effective when seek out advice and support from stop smoking services. The medicines are designed to control your nicotine cravings but you will also need to ween yourself off them. Some medical conditions will prevent you from using certain medications. You can also experience side effects.

3. Triggers

Recognise your triggers – that is the situations where you smoked. Avoid the triggers and also make a plan to manage the situation without tobacco. Carry a pen and paper and take up doodling instead of smoking!

4. Exercise

Physical activity will help to distract you from your cravings and can even reduce the intensity. That activity can include going out to the gym or swimming pool or simply run up and down the stairs! The vacuum cleaner, when you switch it on, is equally effective but if the house reminds you of smoking, get out for a walk.  There is actual evidence to prove that exercise reduces cravings and may well promote anti-craving chemicals. Not only that it will boost your body’s happy chemicals too.
You could also keep your hands busy by swapping cigarettes for crafts like painting and knitting.

5. Relaxation 

As a smoker you may link your habit with a way of dealing with stress. Whether you choose to go to a formal yoga or pilates class or use an online guide to breathing, visualisation and relaxing they are always better than a cigarette. Calm music, a massage or walk is also good for relaxation.

6. Hypnotherapy

Studies to demonstrate the effectiveness of hypnotherapy are variable. The NHS supports use of hypnotherapy but advise taking care as by law you do not have to be qualified.  Having said that, there are many local hypnotherapists who are trained and have a wealth of experience and successful results.  Look for hypnotherapists who include multi-component / cognitive-behavioural techniques.

7. Counselling

Research consistently shows that individual counselling increases the likelihood of stopping smoking compared to less intensive support. However, it also shows that success is additionally related to the smoker’s motivation to give up.  Studies also find that quitting is generally higher when taken in combination with nictotine replacement therapy.

8. The Benefits

Create a poster that you look at every day to show the reasons why you are giving up.
  • Health – cut your risk of cancer,  lung disease and heart conditions. Improve your mental wellbeing.
  • Appearance – improve your skin appearance. Your teeth will also be less grey and stained.
  • Smell Better – Yes, you’ll be free from ‘Eau d’Fag’.
  • Save Money – put your savings towards something special.

9. Call On Your Friends

Get your family, friends and support groups to keen encouraging you and help you to avoid the cravings. Even link up with fellow quitters – you can do this together. Phone calls, coffee breaks and walks, tears and laughter and essential elements to stop.

10. Think about Your Food and Drink

An American study found that some foods, like meat, can make a cigaretter seem more enjoyable. Other including fruit and vegetables and cheese can make them taste awful.  The same is true of drinks – in particular fizzy drinks, alcohol and caffeinated drinks including tea and coffee. If you need another reason to swap your food and drink – the combination of smoking and drinking raises your risk of mouth cancer by 38 times.


The Down Side

Although you may see a down side of giving up the nicotine, we worked hard to find some, of the two we found, there were easy solutions.

  • Stopping smoking is probably going to be hard. You have an addiction and you may well experience withdrawal symptoms. That’s the worst bit, because withdrawal symptoms stop while the benefits begin straight away.
  • Some ex-smokers gain weight after stopping, up to as much as 4kg in the year after stopping. However, not everyone gains weight, don’t give up because your weight will eventually settle back to the same as that of people who have never smoked. The weight gain is better for you than smoking and probably easier to get rid of.

What are You Waiting For?

Make No Smoking Day, 9 March, the day you give up smoking!

Local Help

If need help to say No Smoking, visit your GP and the services below may also help. We are not recommending them because we have not personally tried them to help up smoking.

The Stop Smoking Service

NHS recommended service providing help and support to enable you to quit

Telephone: 0800 013 0553

The Stop Smoking Service

Happy Bodies Gym

Private fitness and wellbeing gym based in Old Stratford

Action Physio

Private physio business based in Stony Stratford offering pilates and physio treatments.

Alchemy Therapy Centre

Health and Wellbeing Centre based in Old Stratford offering massage and other treatments

Slimming World Milton Keynes with Jane

Telephone: 07886 808205


Fiona Rosenberg Hypnotherapy

Website: Fiona Rosenberg Hypnotherapy

Telephone: 07968 106 113 / 01908 989 652 

The Hypnotherapy Practice

Hypnotherapy service based in Stony Stratford
Telephone: 07990 521266

The Wellbeing Therapy Centre

Private Counselling Service based in Milton Keynes

The Practice MK

Private Counselling Service based in Wolverton Mill
Website: The Practice MK