Smoking - stay stopped, one day at a time

Health correspondent

Congratulations, you've made it through your first 24 hours without a cigarette. Here's how to keep on track



The morning after

Waking up after a day of no smoking, you’ll probably have an itchy, sore throat. Instead of bouncing out of bed feeling great, you may feel worse than when you were smoking. This is because the cilia in your throat, tiny ‘hairs’ that are damaged by smoke, are beginning to heal. They work to remove dust and debris from your respiratory system and so initially you might get a sore throat, as well as a cough. Try to focus on the positive meaning of your sore throat – it means your body is getting back to normal.

Give yourself tomorrow

Whenever you’re finding it difficult not to give in, tell yourself you can have a cigarette tomorrow if you can stick it out for today. The next day, tell yourself the same thing again. The longer you go without a cigarette, the more reason you have to stay nicotine-free. This is a method that many quitters use and it does work.

Drink more water

Sipping water throughout the day not only distracts you from the desire to smoke, it also helps your body flush out the thousands of chemicals you’ve been inhaling over the years. Keep a bottle of mineral water with you at all times – and if water’s too bland, add a splash of Robinson’s Barley Water or try Volvic’s new sugar-free Touch of Fruit water.

Make a note

Write a list of all the positive outcomes of quitting and carry it around with you so you can refer to it when you’re feeling weak. The list could include financial gains, health gains, psychological gains such as feeling empowered or in control of your body, emotional gains such as pleasing your partner or children, and so on.

Steer clear of smokers

Seeing a good friend with whom you usually share a smoke is one of the toughest tests of your willpower, even more so if they’re the type who feels slightly jealous of your achievement and so tries to cajole you into having ‘just the one for old time’s sake’. Convince this person to join you in quitting or avoid them until you’re confident you can survive the experience.

Keep smiling

As the nicotine and other toxins – all 4,000 of them – leave your body, you can start to feel irritable and moody. This will pass and is simply a result of your system cleansing itself. Think of it as an extended hangover. Allow yourself treats in the form of delicious, nutritious snacks, DVDs or shopping – whatever it takes to get you through the first few days.

Two days done

If you’ve made it through day two, congratulations. Just 48 hours after you’ve extinguished your last tobacco ember, your body is free of the highly addictive chemical nicotine. You are, physically at least, free of the chains binding you to the tobacco weed. You’ve also already saved £10.10.




The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.