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Can people quit smoking?

Belief and motivation

Smoking can be hard to quit. However, we believe it is important that smokers who decide to quit realise they can, provided they have the motivation to quit and the belief that they can. We believe that if you want to quit, you should.

Many smokers are said to be dependent on cigarettes, because although they know the real risks of disease involved they still smoke frequently and find it very difficult to quit.

However, millions of smokers have quit without any medical help and millions have modified how often, where and when they smoke in the light of differing social norms. In some countries, such as the UK, there are now as many ex-smokers as smokers.

Various ways have been suggested to help people quit, including using nicotine replacement therapy (eg. patches and gums). While all these forms of assistance may be beneficial, the most important factors in successfully quitting are having the motivation to quit and the self-belief that you can do so.

What people should consider about quitting:

  • Smoking can be hard to quit. Any adult thinking of starting to smoke should consider that it may be difficult to stop later.
  • For people wanting to quit, the keys are motivation and self-belief.
  • There is nothing so powerful about the pleasure of smoking that prevents smokers from quitting, if they have motivation and confidence in their ability to do so.
  • Many millions of people have quit smoking successfully.
  • Advice on quitting smoking is available from many sources, including public health authorities and health professionals, and some countries have national telephone quit lines.

Visit the UK National Health Service’s www.nhs.uk/smokefree  or phone the National Health Service Helpline: 0800169 0169. The National Health Pregnancy Smoking Helpline also offers quitting advice and support to pregnant women on 0800 169 9169.