Paths for quitting tobacco smoking
Giving up tobacco smoking is definitely one of the best things you can do for your health. However, if you have developed a dependency on nicotine you may find it difficult to quit. Some people can stop smoking without assistance (cold turkey) but most people increase their chances of success by quitting in combination with various kinds of support as listed below:
The NSW Quitline 13 7848 (13 QUIT)
Quitline is a confidential telephone information and advice service. For the cost of a local call (except mobiles), professional telephone advisors provide encouragement, resources and support to help smokers quit. They are friendly, helpful, non-judgmental and are able to assist smokers at whatever stage they may be at in the quitting process. The Quitline advisors can also provide advice to family and friends of smokers and to health professionals about the best evidence for quitting smoking.
NSW Quitline offers:
- a free callback service
- a Quit kit containing helpful information about quitting - available to download or order in English, Arabic, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin) and Vietnamese
- an individually tailored and culturally sensitive service for Aboriginal callers
- dedicated language lines in Arabic, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin) and Vietnamese
- callers from other culturally and linguistically diverse communities can also call the Translating and Interpreter Service.
iCanQuit website is designed to motivate people to quit by providing them with the information and tools they need to make a quit attempt. It is interactive and allows smokers to share their stories about previous, current or planned quit attempts.
It provides helpful hints on how to quit as well as a goal tracker and savings calculator so smokers can see the everyday results of quitting.
My QuitBuddy is a phone app personalised to help you quit smoking on your terms. You choose the time when you are ready to quit, set your own goals, and include photos and recordings of loved ones to spur you on. A popular feature of the app is a community forum which allows quitters to share success stories and tips.
There is a range of medical products that can double your chances of quitting.
- Nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) including patch, gum, lozenge, inhalator and mouth sprays are available over the counter at local pharmacies without a prescription. NRT works by replacing some of the nicotine your body receives from smoking but at a much lower level which helps you to manage nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
- Bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Champix) are prescription medicines that work by reducing the severity of withdrawal symptoms while also reducing the pleasurable sensation of nicotine. For details of the availability of NRT and other medical products on the Pharaceutical Benefits Scheme visit the
For more information on medical products that can help you visit 'Products to quit'. Read about the 10 common myths about smoking and quitting.
Quitting methods not recommended
Switching to lower nicotine and tar
Many Australian smokers mistakenly believe that weaker tasting cigarettes (previously known as 'light' and 'mild' cigarettes) are less dangerous. There is no evidence that smokers of weaker cigarettes have less risk of smoking-caused diseases than smokers of other cigarettes.
Research shows that there is little difference in the levels of nicotine, carbon monoxide and other toxins inhaled by smokers of weaker cigarettes compared to smokers of regular cigarettes. This is because smokers generally take more frequent and deeper puffs of these cigarettes to get the amount of nicotine they are used to. There is no evidence that switching to weaker tasting cigarettes reduces addiction or helps smokers to quit.
While some e-cigarette manufacturers claim that they can help a person to quit smoking, there is currently insufficient evidence to conclude that e-cigarettes can assist smokers to quit.
The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has not assessed any e-cigarettes for quality, safety or performance as a smoking cessation aid.
Further information on safety and other issues relating to electronic cigarettes is available on the TGA website.
For more information on e-cigarettes, visit 'Electronic cigarettes' on the NSW Health website.