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

Breaking free from smoking or vaping can feel overwhelming. We know lots of people try many times before they stop 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! Read the article below if you're trying to quit smoking or vaping, or you want to support a loved one quit.

How to break free from smoking or vaping

Don't let a brief return to smoking or vaping 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. Moments when you smoke or vape after your quit date can be a normal part of quitting and you can benefit from them 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 for good.

Remember: If you've had a cigarette or if you’ve vaped, it doesn't have to mean you're back to square one with smoking or vaping again. Keep up your quitting journey to break free from smoking or vaping.

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 or vape 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 - Delay, Deep breathe, Do something else and Drink water - can help get you through cravings.

Quitline is here to help

Quitline counsellors can offer you free advice and support to help you stop smoking or vaping for good. They will find quit strategies that work for you. They'll help you build and keep up your motivation, create a personalised plan that works for you, and provide guidance and encouragement along the way. Quitline counsellors can also support you if you are using e-cigarettes to stop smoking. Read more about how Quitline can help.

Remember: Quitline is here to help you stop smoking or vaping, wherever you are on our quitting journey.

There are many ways to contact Quitline:

  • Call 13 7848 Mon - Fri 8am to 8pm

  • Text 'call back' to 0482 090 634

  • Webchat at quit.org.au

  • Facebook Messenger @quitvic (VIC, SA, WA, NT only)

  • WhatsApp 61 385 832 920 (VIC, SA, WA, NT only)

  • Request a callback using the online form: 

Request a callback

Quitline is a culturally safe space. We have information in Arabic, Mandarin and Simplified Chinese and Vietnamese, and a Quitline counsellor can speak with you in languages other than English through an interpreter service. You can ask to yarn with an Aboriginal Quitline counsellor. We work with LGBTIQ+ communities - 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.

Speak with your GP

It's also a great idea to speak with your GP. Your GP can discuss ways to help you to quit smoking or vaping, and give you a script for cheaper quit medication, like nicotine replacement therapy, if appropriate. See What to ask your GP.

Supporting a loved one who smokes or vapes

Quitting is a journey … walk in their shoes

Most people who smoke or vape want to stop, but the journey to break free from smoking or vaping can be a long and winding pathEvery attempt is a step in the right direction. Every time they make a quit attempt it is an opportunity to learn and can help your loved one better prepare for the next step toward quitting 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-judgemental.

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 that times when they smoke or vape after their quit date are normal and give the time and encouragement to strengthen quitting skills, your loved one will have the best chance of quitting 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 or vape it can be hard to talk about the ups and downs of trying to quit. Many people avoid talking about their smoking or vaping or keep quit attempts secret in case their friends and family are disappointed if they start smoking or vaping 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.

Last updated February 2024.

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