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Cutting down to quit smoking

You may find the idea of quitting smoking 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 can work as well as stopping smoking straight away. It helps to use a faster-acting nicotine replacement therapy like lozenges or mouth spray, or a prescribed stop smoking tablet while you cut down. Also, if you plan to cut down, it helps to have a quit date in mind.

How to make cutting down work better 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 firm 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 prescribed stop smoking medication to help you cut down smoking. 

  • You’re more likely to have success when cutting down if you’re using Quitline

There are many ways to contact Quitline

  • Call 13 7848

  • Text 'call back' to 0482 090 634 (VIC, SA, WA, NT only)

  • Webchat at (VIC, SA, WA, NT only)

  • Message us on Facebook Messenger @quitvic or WhatsApp: 61 385 832 920 (VIC, SA, WA, NT only)

  • Ask Quitline to call you back for free using the online form: Request a Quitline callback

Request a callback

Please note, this information is for general use only.  Please consult your health professional for further advice.

If you would like to provide feedback, please contact

Last updated January 2024.

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