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Cutting down to quit

You may find the idea of quitting all at once overwhelming. If you decide to cut down on your way to quitting for good, here are a few tips that can really help.

What is cutting down to quit?

Cutting down means reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke each day until you quit. You might decide to smoke only on the hour, for instance, then every two hours, until you’re not smoking at all. Or you might remove one cigarette from your pack each day until you’ve got none left. 

Does cutting down work?

Studies show that cutting down is not as effective as stopping straight away. If you plan to cut down, it helps to have a quit date in mind. 

How to make cutting down more effective for you

  • Remove your favourite cigarettes first (if you leave your favourites to last it can make it difficult to quit completely).

  • Make sure you have a clear cutting-down plan and a quit date.

  • Be aware that cutting down can use up a lot of energy (you don’t want to be tired of quitting before you begin).

  • Talk to your health professional about using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or prescription stop smoking medication to help you cut down. 

  • You’re more likely to have success when cutting down if you’re using Quitline. Or request a Quitline callback

Last updated November 2021.

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