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Got a question about quitting? Quitline answers the big 4

It's common to worry about how you'll cope with stopping smoking or vaping, or what you'll do with the extra time quitting affords. Quitline counsellors answer some common questions they receive on Quitline 13 7848:

Q. How will I cope with stress?

A. Many people who smoke or vape equate it with stress relief and relaxation, but what is it that you're really looking for? Is it solitude? ‘Me’ time? Downtime? A reward?

Understanding this can help you craft stress relief strategies that replace smoking or vaping, and provide you with that sought-after ‘me’ time, reward or solitude: organising a part of your house or desk, reading a magazine, strumming the guitar, playing a game, listening to a favourite song, meditating, mindful breathing, stretching or calling a friend for a quick chat.

Remember, feelings of withdrawal and cravings make most people feel uncomfortable and frustrated, sometimes even anxious. For a while it might feel that nothing else is going to relieve your stress. Do your best and persevere. 

TIP: Nicotine withdrawal can affect your brain’s functioning and cause you to be less creative or motivated. Don’t give in. Those thoughts are not you, it’s the withdrawal talking. Reframe it as an opportunity rather than a chore; an opportunity to learn about yourself.

Q. What'll I do with my time?

A. Quitting often means having a lot more time on your hands and many people worry about what they’ll do with that extra time. It can be hard to think creatively about interesting things to do while you’re in the process of quitting. So before you quit, think about activities you can lose yourself in, where you don’t ‘watch the clock’. 

TIP: Generally, cravings last 5–15 minutes. Acknowledge the craving and know it’ll pass. Before you stop smoking, make a list of things you can do to distract yourself. Simple tasks are helpful to avoid frustration or being overwhelmed. The key is to keep yourself busy but be kind to yourself by keeping things simple.

Q. I'm scared of withdrawal. I get cranky when I can't smoke or vape.

That is very normal. Many people do become emotional when they’re quitting and they can feel less inclined to quit because they don’t want to put themselves or others through that experience. If you’ve tried to quit before and you’ve gotten angry or sad, now you know what might come up. The good news you’re not alone. Talking to a Quitline counsellor or support person is often one of the most effective ways to manage the emotional side of quitting.

It's also a good idea to speak with your GP or pharmacist. They can advise if any medications are appropriate to help you manage feelings of withdrawal while you stop smoking or vaping. 

TIP: Chatting with a Quitline counsellor can be one of the best ways to deal with the emotions that surface during quitting. Quitline counsellors understand the issues that can arise specifically in the context of quitting smoking or vaping, or both. Chatting to someone on Quitline is free and easy. There are many ways to get in touch. Click the button below for more:

But I like it...

Many people are in "two minds" about quitting but ultimately decide to do it because they want to enjoy the benefits that come with a life free from smoking or vaping:

  • better health and wellbeing

  • seeing their children grow up

  • financial freedom

  • freedom from fear of smoking or vaping-related illness

  • freedom from an addictive substance.

Most people find they get so many benefits from quitting, they come to realise their smoking or vaping was blocking them from realising what was waiting for them.

TIP: Think about what you might gain from living a life free from smoking or vaping - things like better health, more money, more time to spend with loved ones, more energy, to name a few.

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

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Last updated February 2024

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