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What's so hard about quitting?

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We don't want to alarm you, or give you any excuse not to quit. But it's important to know what you might be in for when you give up smoking, so you can prepare yourself mentally to push through it.

You're not alone

Despite all the health warnings and the huge cost, it's amazing how many of us still smoke, and that's largely because it's so difficult to quit.

Whether you've been smoking for four years or forty, it can be just as tricky to kick the habit. According to an Australian survey, over 90% of all smokers have tried to quit or cut back at least once, so there's plenty of people out there you can share your experiences with, and maybe get some mutual support from.

The end is in sight

The good news is that if you've pushed through to three months, your chances of staying quit are much higher than with a shorter quit attempt. You've gone over a considerable hump and things should really start getting easier for you.

Your quit journey will be unique. How successful it is, and how soon you're smoke-free, depends mainly on you. Whether it's your first attempt or your tenth, remember that quitting smoking is a journey, not an event, so even if you haven't smoked for a year, it's important you resist temptation.

Stay away from cigarettes for good, and it will all be worth it.

Yes, but why's quitting so hard?

The decision to quit smoking can be difficult to make. You may not know what to expect and you might worry about feeling alone on your journey. That's why it's important to get support from family and friends.

We don't want to sugar-coat the reality of giving up smoking. So below are some of the things you might experience as you travel towards the goal of becoming smoke-free.


These include many of the 'feelings' listed below and can hit you as soon as two or three hours after your last cigarette. However, they usually peak after two or three days. Check out our tips for managing the five withdrawal symptoms of smoking.

This is the intense feeling that something's missing, which is your body's response to craving the nicotine you are dependent on. Using Nicabate Gum or a Nicabate Patch can help relieve this symptom.

If you associate your smoking with specific times, such as handling pressure or relaxing with a drink, it's not unusual to feel anxious when you're deprived of the 'support'. If this happens, try doing something that you enjoy or focusing on a project to keep yourself busy and distracted.

You might have a difficult time concentrating when going through nicotine withdrawal, as your brain gets used to operating without nicotine. Work hard to focus on the task at hand, and try doing really positive things for yourself and the others around you.

Yes, giving up smoking is a good excuse for being tetchy and grumpy, but don't milk it with your loved ones! Easing off the nicotine using Nicabate may make you a little easier to live with.

Feelings of frustration can make it difficult to manage your emotions and stay in control. Again, Nicabate can help you overcome your frustration and re-focus on your quit goal.

If you find yourself feeling melancholy, try to make some time for yourself by enjoying a hot bath, taking a walk or reading a good book. You can also talk to friends or family members about your feelings, or your doctor if your sadness is becoming too hard to handle.

Giving up smoking can make you feel drowsy, even when you have had plenty of sleep, or you might have trouble sleeping at night, or have nightmares. Where possible, try to take a short nap during the day to recharge. Or ask your pharmacist or doctor about ways that may help you sleep.

Nicotine can decrease your appetite, so some people put on weight when they give it up. Munching on healthy snacks, such as fresh-cut vegetables and fruits, is one way to satisfy your appetite without putting on weight. Or try chewing sugar-free gum.

It's pretty common to start getting headaches as you clear the nicotine out of your system. Many people find that taking an over-the-counter pain medication, drinking a few glasses of cold water or taking a short nap helps get rid of the pain.

Although nicotine withdrawal symptoms are pretty unpleasant, they don't last too long and any discomfort will be worth it in the end. To make things a little bit easier, try using a nicotine patch or chewing on nicotine gum to help ease the symptoms as you wean yourself off of this harmful substance.