Ways to quit | Smoke Free Families

While taking it outside is a great way to protect your family, you might also be thinking about quitting smoking – the single biggest step you can take to reduce your own risk of a range of serious smoking related disease such as cancer, heart disease and stroke.

Some of the benefits of stopping are immediate and some are longer-term.

  • After just 24 hours your lungs start to clear.
  • After 48 hours carbon monoxide will be eliminated from the body.
  • After a year the risk of a heart attack halves.
  • And if you smoke 12 a day, you could save around £2000 a year not buying cigarettes.

Surprising as it may seem you are better off stopping abruptly, NOT trying to gradually cut down. Research has found that when smokers stop abruptly they are more likely to succeed.

Even if you’ve tried before, don’t worry – it can take some people several tries and getting the right support can also help your chances of success. Here are some of the options below:

Local Stop Smoking Support

Developed by experts and ex-smokers and delivered by professionals, local stop smoking services provide expert advice, support and encouragement to help you stop smoking for good. Many offer free one-to-one or group support along with stop smoking medicines, which are available for the cost of a prescription.

All stop smoking services in the North East also offer support to people using their own e-cigarettes to quit smoking.

Getting help from your local stop smoking service boosts your chances of success by up to four times compared with trying to quit unaided or with over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy.

You can find out about the local support available below:

Using a stop smoking medicine

Many people use a stop smoking medicine to reduce cigarette cravings and withdrawal symptoms from quitting smoking. You will find it easier to get on with your life without constantly thinking about smoking

The two main stop-smoking medicines are Champix and Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). In most parts of the North East, you can get either of these from your GP or a pharmacist.

  • Champix is a tablet that you take for 12 weeks. It is non-addictive and very effective at controlling cravings. Champix is available only on prescription.
  • NRT comes in lots of forms such as skin patch, chewing gum and lozenge. NRT products are available either over the counter or on prescription.

These medicines only work if you use them properly and follow the full course.


E-cigarettes can help people quit smoking and current evidence indicates they have similar or better results than nicotine replacement therapies such as patches and gum. The current best estimate is that e-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than smoking (independent evidence review from Public Health England).

E-cigarettes are designed for users to inhale nicotine without most of the harmful effects of smoking. As there is no burning involved, there is no smoke. Unlike cigarettes, e-cigarettes do not produce tar and carbon monoxide. The vapour has been found to contain some toxicants also found in cigarette smoke, but at very much lower levels.

It is important to stop smoking tobacco completely and if you are using an e-cigarette, ensure you are properly managing your cravings. People using e-cigs who use too little nicotine have less success at quitting smoking. Tank style devices are also more effective than versions which resemble cigarettes.

The most effective way to quit is with face-to-face expert support and this is available free from local stop smoking services, who welcome people using their own e-cigarettes to quit Click here to find yours.

Tools and apps / going it alone

If you are going it alone you will want to make sure you are giving yourself the best possible chance of success. Set a quit date (it could be today), and then do everything you can to avoid even a single puff on a cigarette!

Public Health England offers free quitting tools to help keep you going, such as the Smokefree App and Text Support. Click to sign up.