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Quitting methods

There are plenty of methods to quit, so there’s sure to be one that suits you. Everyone’s different. So if one method isn’t working out - be persistent and try another. Because when you find what works, it’s worth it. Here are some quit tips to get you started.

Using a combination of methods (like nicotine replacement and counselling) will improve your chance of successfully quitting.

Some common methods include:


Setting a support network in place will help you quit. You can always talk to loved ones and your GP. There’s also heaps of free, support services out there (such as Quitline on 13 7848) that are ready to help you over the phone. They can provide advice and answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Nicotine replacement products

Nicotine replacement products deliver small amounts of nicotine to you. This allows you to reduce your withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Products include patches, gums, lozenges, inhalers and sprays. Combination therapies are often recommended such as, patches and an oral form of nicotine. Speak to your GP or Quitline about the best option for you.

Prescription medications

You can use prescription medications to help you quit smoking. There are two non-nicotine options available, Bupropion (Zyban) and Varenicline (Champix) which need to be prescribed by a GP. Medications can help reduce cravings and nicotine withdrawal symptoms and are far cheaper than continuing to smoke. Talk to your GP about the best option for you.

Cold turkey

Quitting cold turkey is when you stop smoking suddenly, without any quit smoking medications or specialist support. If cold turkey does not work for you, try using medications, nicotine replacement therapy and/or support to increase your chance of success.

Alternative treatments

Some people try alternative methods to help curb the cravings of nicotine addiction. Such methods include:

  • Hypnosis - which proposes to act on underlying impulses to weaken the desire to smoke and strengthen your will to stop.
  • Acupuncture - a traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting fine needles into the skin at specific points in the body. Related techniques include acupressure, laser therapy and electrostimulation. The aim of these therapies is to reduce withdrawal symptoms.

If you want to try these, just be aware that there is no clear evidence to support these methods as effective ways to quit smoking.

Methods proven to be effective include nicotine replacement therapy, prescription medications and support from a health professional or Quitline counsellor.

Methods not recommended


You’ve probably seen people 'vape' or use e-cigarettes (electronic cigarettes). Some people think using these products are a good way to quit, but there is limited evidence around their effectiveness. There are also many concerns around the quality and safety of e-cigarettes and questions around the risks they pose to our population’s health. They have not been approved as a quit smoking aid in Australia and aren’t listed under the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.

There are so many other alternatives to help you quit cigarettes that could suit you better.

And what’s more, by law e-cigarettes are considered the same as tailor cigarettes. So, where you can legally use and smoke them is exactly the same as cigarettes anyway.

More on e-cigs

Switching to lower nicotine and tar cigarettes

More than half of all Australian smokers mistakenly believe that weaker tasting cigarettes described as ‘gold’, ‘smooth’, ‘silver’ or ‘fine (previously known as ‘light’ and ‘mild’ cigarettes) are less dangerous. There is no evidence that smokers of weaker cigarettes have less risk of smoking-caused diseases than smokers of other cigarettes.

Research shows that there is little difference in the levels of nicotine, carbon monoxide and other toxins inhaled by smokers of weaker cigarettes compared to smokers of regular cigarettes. This is because smokers generally take more frequent and deeper puffs of these cigarettes to get the amount of nicotine they are used to.

There is no such thing as a safe cigarette.

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