Quit Victoria - Main Menu Quitline Logo Request a call back

Nicotine addiction

When you go without cigarettes, it's common to feel nicotine withdrawal:

  • strong cravings
  • irritability
  • trouble concentrating
  • restlessness
  • anxiety
  • low mood
  • trouble sleeping

Am I addicted to nicotine?

If you do have a nicotine addiction, it is recommended to use a nicotine replacement product or quitting medication (Champix or Zyban). They are proven to reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms and reduce nicotine-related cravings. Research shows that you have the best chance of quitting when you combine a nicotine replacement product or a quitting medication with a support service like Quitline.

What does it mean if I am low on nicotine addiction?

If your nicotine addiction is low, your urge to smoke may be more related to habits and routines, stress and smoking or social situations and alcohol.

Nicotine and stress

Many smokers feel that smoking helps to calm them down and reduce stress. This is because your body is used to nicotine and relies on it to feel normal. To read more see stress and smoking.

Smoking and caffeine

When you stop smoking, you feel the effects of caffeine more because chemicals in cigarettes make your body get rid of caffeine faster. If you quit without reducing your caffeine intake, you will have higher levels of caffeine in your body which can make you feel restless, irritable and sleepless.

When you quit smoking, try to reduce your intake of caffeine (e.g. drinks like coffee, tea, cola, chocolate). Quitting smoking is hard enough without the effects of extra caffeine as well!

Nicotine Addiction Test

Take the nicotine addiction test and get advice about the best way to quit.

Your level: Unknown. Complete the test below to find out.

Nicotine Addiction Test
  1. How soon after waking do you smoke your first cigarette?
    How soon after waking do you smoke your first cigarette?
  2. How many cigarettes a day do you smoke?
    How many cigarettes a day do you smoke?

Low dependence

Your answers indicate that you have a low addiction to nicotine. This doesn’t mean you’re safe from getting a smoking related illness. The good news is you may not need nicotine replacement products or quitting medication to quit successfully. However, you may still experience bad cravings. Make sure you consult your doctor, pharmacist or health professional or call the Quitline on 13 7848 for advice.

Habits can trigger cravings. To increase your chance of quitting it helps to work out ways to break your regular habits that involve smoking.

For example:

  • Plan changes in your daily routine to help you adjust to being a nonsmoker. For example, driving or walking a different route to work, or planning a new way to unwind after work, can help stop you thinking about your old smoking habits.
  • It takes about 15 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that it's full after a meal. Instead of using a cigarette to distract yourself from hunger, try sipping on a drink, or brush your teeth immediately after meals.
  • Take all your normal breaks but with a cup of herbal tea or other drink, instead of a cigarette, or hold your cup in your other hand.
  • Try sitting in a different chair to watch TV, and having a shower as soon as you get up, if these are times you usually smoke.
  • Avoid challenging occasions where there will be plenty of cigarettes available, particularly if there will also be alcohol around.

Low to moderate dependence

Your answers indicate that you have a low to moderate addiction to nicotine. You may be able to quit successfully with some assistance from a good coach (like Quitline) in combination with nicotine replacement products or quitting medication.

Call the Quitline on 13 7848 for advice from a friendly professional.

Habits can also trigger cravings. It will increase your chance of quitting if you work out ways to break your regular habits that involve smoking.

For example:

  • Plan changes in your daily routine to help you adjust to being a nonsmoker. For example, driving or walking a different route to work, or planning a new way to unwind after work, can help stop you thinking about your old smoking habits.
  • It takes about 15 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that it's full after a meal. Instead of using a cigarette to distract yourself from hunger, try sipping on a drink, or brush your teeth immediately after meals.
  • Take all your normal breaks but with a cup of herbal tea or other drink, instead of a cigarette, or hold your cup in your other hand.
  • Try sitting in a different chair to watch TV, and having a shower as soon as you get up, if these are times you usually smoke.
  • Avoid challenging occasions where there will be plenty of cigarettes available, particularly if there will also be alcohol around.

Moderate dependence

Your answers indicate that you have a moderate addiction to nicotine. You will benefit from professional advice. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or health professional about using nicotine replacement products or quitting medication to help you quit, and make sure you call the Quitline on 13 7848.

You will also need to work out ways in which you can break your smoking habits, and manage your routines.

Think about when, where and why you smoke.

Being in some situations after you have quit can trigger cravings. Knowing what makes you want to smoke can help you plan how to deal with trigger situations when you're quitting.

  • If you usually smoke when you first wake up, have a shower instead.
  • If you smoke when you're drinking, switch to non-alcoholic drinks for a while.

Emotions like stress, anger, sadness or frustration might make you feel like smoking. Try to work out ways to deal with these feelings.

  • If you usually smoke when you're stressed, try using a stress ball instead or talk to someone about it.
  • If you reward yourself with a cigarette, relax with a hot drink, have a night out with friends or buy your favourite magazine instead.

High dependence

Your answers indicate you have a high addiction to nicotine, but this shouldn’t be barrier to quitting. Speak to your doctor about using nicotine replacement products or quitting medication and seek support like the Quitline 13 7848.

If you are addicted and use nicotine replacement products or quitting medications properly, they can reduce withdrawal symptoms such as cravings, irritability and mood swings. You can greatly increase your chances of successfully quitting.

If you have a high dependence you may benefit from combination therapy, which means using an approved combination of two types of nicotine replacement products.

Make sure to consult your doctor, pharmacist or health professional about what might suit you.

Using a good coach such as the Quitline is also highly recommended.

 

Real life stories

Just do it!!

After 20 years of smoking I threw my half-full pack in the bin. That was it. No patches, no anything (except my willpower and my belief that enough was enough). I have won. It has been a battle. I...

Read more of this story ›