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Breaking free from smoking: a guide for you and your loved ones

Breaking free from smoking can feel overwhelming. We know lots of people try many times before they stop smoking for good, and people can often feel like they’ve tried everything. Knowing how to navigate the quitting journey and having the support of friends and family can make all the difference!

That’s why Quit asked people who smoke how their friends and family can best support them. We combined this information with research and advice from Quitline counsellors and behavioural scientists to help support you and your loved one through the journey in the most positive way:


How to break free from smoking


Don't let a slip up stop you

The experts at Quitline say quitting can take practice and that every attempt helps people develop the skills they need to quit for good. Slip ups can be a normal part of quitting and can be beneficial in the long run as they provide you with an opportunity to learn and develop your quitting skills, getting you a step closer to quitting smoking for good.

Remember: If you've had a smoke, it doesn't mean you're back to being a smoker. Keep up your quitting journey to break free from smoking.

Remember the 4Ds

If you’ve recently quit, remember the 4Ds to get you through cravings:

  • Delay acting on the craving for at least five minutes, the urge to smoke will pass.
  • Deep breathe, slowly and deeply.
  • Do something else to keep your hands busy.
  • Drink water to take ‘time out’, sip slowly.

Remember: Cravings fade away over time. The 4Ds wallet card can be a handy reminder of how to get through cravings. Order your free copy here.

For your best chance of quitting for good

You’ll have the best chance of quitting for good if you talk to your doctor for stop smoking medications like the nicotine patch and gum and contact Quitline (13 7848). Quitline counsellors will find strategies that work for you.

Remember: Quitline is here to help, wherever you are on our quitting journey. Call Quitline on 13 7848, Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm or complete the online form to request a callback.


Supporting a loved one who smokes

Quitting is a journey… walk in their shoes

Most people who smoke want to stop, but the journey to break free from smoking can be a long and winding path. Every attempt is a step in the right direction. Every quit attempt is an opportunity to learn, and can help your loved one better prepare for the next step toward quitting smoking for good. With friends and family who are patient, who listen without judgement, and who let their loved one decide the support they need, it is easier to stay the course.

Remember: people trying to quit benefit most from support that is positive and non-judgmental.

Practice makes perfect... cheer them on!

Quitting can take practice. Every attempt helps develop the skills needed to quit for good. Every try counts. With family and friends who recognise slip ups are normal and give the time and encouragement to strengthen quitting skills, your loved one will have the best chance of quitting smoking for good.

Remember: High expectations from friends and family add pressure that makes quitting more difficult. For your loved one, it can be made much easier knowing family and friends will be there to cheer them on no matter how long it takes to quit.

Your understanding and care can make a big difference

The best relationships are those in which we can share and be open with one another. But for people who smoke it can be hard to talk about the ups and downs of trying to quit. Many people avoid talking about their smoking or keep quit attempts secret in case their friends and family are disappointed if they slip up or start smoking again. The best thing friends and family can do is make sure their loved one feels comfortable talking to them. By asking open questions and being gently curious about how your loved one is going, you can help them feel supported without adding unhelpful pressure. When you listen without judgement, they’ll feel more comfortable sharing their journey with you, and you can learn the best ways to support them.

Remember: Unconditional and positive support is the best way to show your loved one they can lean on you when the going gets tough.


How Quitline (13 7848) can help


Quitline is an effective, free, and confidential telephone counselling service. Calling Quitline increases the chances of stopping smoking for good. Quitline counsellors, many of whom used to smoke, are highly trained experts in helping people break free from smoking. They can help you or your loved one build and sustain motivation, skills and confidence to quit and help build a stop smoking plan that works.

Quitline counsellors can also talk to you about how to support your loved one through their quitting journey.

Call Quitline on 13 7848 Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm or fill out the online form to request a callback. If you or your loved one speaks a language other than English, Quitline counsellors can chat via an interpreter. Find out more here

Quitline is a culturally safe space

  • You can ask to yarn with an Aboriginal Quitline counsellor. 
  • We also work with the LGBTIQ+ community - Quitline counsellors can chat with you in a culturally appropriate and accessible way and you'll find peers working in the service.
  • If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can call the National Relay Service to access the Quitline. For other options click here.

Tools to try

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There are a range of support options available to help you quit.

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Calling the Quitline increases your chance of quitting successfully.
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