Trying to Quit?

Quitting is tough, but we're here to help. 

Methods of Quitting Smoking

Remember that you can use any combination of these methods to quit and you always learn from every quit attempt!

Cold Turkey

You suddenly quit smoking without the patch or gum. It doesn't require any supplies and is free!

The Gum

Replaces nicotine that your body craves when you don't smoke. It's chewed differently than regular gum. It's easy to use, you choose how much you need, and when you need it. You can use it to help you cut down on cigarettes.

The Patch

By applying a nicotine replacement patch to your skin, your body can get some of the nicotine that it is not getting from smoking. You change the patch once a day, then gradually decrease the dose every couple of weeks. Although it can be expensive, it can help with withdrawal symptoms, and no one needs to know you're using it because you can hide it under clothes.

The Group

A group of people who are all trying to kick the addiction work together, share stories, get tips, and chill out. It provides support and a lot of different ideas to help you quit. It also helps you connect with people who are going through the same things you are.

4 D's of Quitting

Remember the 4 D's:

  • Delay the smoke
  • Drink plenty of water and juice
  • Distract yourself 
  • Deep Breaths

Quit Tips & Quitting Survival Kit

  • Find a supportive quit buddy
  • Make your own quitting survival kit 
  • Drink orange juice which interferes with the absorption of nicotine
  • Recognize and avoid temptations by throwing out lighters and ashtrays
  • Set a quit date and tell your friends
  • Talk to a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist to see if nicotine replacement therapy is right for you. If you are a student you can talk to your school's public health nurse or health services on campus. If not, feel free to contact us

Start Slow

  • Start by decreasing the number of cigarettes you smoke each day
  • Identify which cigarettes of the day are least important to you and get rid of those first
  • Postpone your first cigarette of the day as long as you can
  • Smoke only half a cigarette


  • Sometimes, quitting smoking causes withdrawal symptoms which will pass within a few weeks
  • If you slip-up and smoke a few cigarettes, don't panic. It is NOT a failure
  • Try again if you need to

Quitting Survival Kit

So you're ready to quit but you want to pack light? Here's how to make your own survival kit. What you'll need:

  • A bottle of water
  • Gum
  • A small toy for your hands (ex: slinky)
  • A stress ball
  • Your patch or the gum: discuss with your health professional if nicotine replacement therapy is right for you.


  • Pack all of the items in a small bag or throw them in your backpack or purse on your way out the door 
  • If you constantly have the need to put something in your mouth, the gum can help you chew away your cravings.
  • Some people who quit find they always need something in their hands so a small toy or a stress ball will help you since quitting can be stressful.
  • Don't forget the water bottle because hydration is key when you're trying to banish your cravings.
  • Make a "Quit Playlist" to give you motivation and distract you from the cravings you might have.
  • Finally, if you are using nicotine replacement therapy, make sure you always have it with you!

Other tips:

  • Try covering your cigarette packs with things that motivate you, like quotes or reasons why you're quitting
  • Find a quit buddy
  • Warn your family and friends that you might get a little irritable from quitting, maybe they'll cut you some slack
  • Think of options or activities to do other than smoking so when you are tempted you'll have a plan B
  • Evaluate all your options, like the patch or the gum
  • Make a survival kit with things that you can do with your hands or chew, for example: toothpicks, a slinky, stress ball, gum etc.

Managing Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal, what's up with that?

When you stop smoking, the nicotine levels in your blood decrease. This can cause withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal can be intense when you first quit, but will decrease with time. Symptoms can last a few days to several weeks. Remember: every smoker experiences withdrawal differently. Hang in there!

What are the symptoms?

  • Occasional dizziness
  • Headache
  • Hunger
  • Increased coughing
  • Spaced out
  • Nervousness and shakes

But why is this happening to my body?

You inhale lots of carbon monoxide when smoking. When you quit, your body takes in more oxygen causing headaches, dizziness, and making you feel spaced out. Nicotine withdrawal affects your nerves making you feel edgy. If you are concerned about a symptom, contact your health care professional.

Benefits of Quitting

  • Your taste buds and sense of smell are improving already
  • Don't underestimate water, it can help with even the worst of cravings
  • Reward yourself! Quitting is hard and you should be proud. Go out with a friend, buy that new shirt you wanted
  • Take a nap, quitting can take a lot out of you so give yourself a break
  • Don't forget why you're quitting. When you're tempted to give up, remind yourself of the reasons for quitting in the first place
  • Don't be discouraged because the cravings are though, the worst is over in about 2 weeks

    Check out the lung association's page for more tips and benefits of quitting! 

Thank You For Being a Friend


  • Help your friend avoid situations where others are smoking
  • Do an activity together where there's no smoking involved
  • Be available for your friend and listen to them when they are frustrated or discouraged
  • Remember that quitting is hard work
  • Congratulate your friend often
  • Encourage your friend to get help from a pharmacist, doctor, or any health professional
  • Tell your friend you're happy they're quitting


  • Don't nag your friend or make them feel guilty
  • Don't put your friend down, it takes the average smoker more than one quit attempt to give up tobacco for good
  • Don't offer them cigarettes or smoke with them
  • Don't tell your friend what to do

Smoking While Pregnant

Have you thought of quitting or reducing the number of cigarettes you currently smoke? By quitting, you and your unborn child will avoid being exposed to over 7,000 chemicals with 70 of which are considered carcinogens. So, if you are thinking about quitting and want to speak to a quit coach, please call us at 613-580-6744.

For more information about smoking during pregnancy see Parenting in Ottawa

Quit Resources

Ready to quit, and over the age of 18, go to:

  • Break it Off
  • - A free, confidential service for online tips, tools, and support 24/7. For mobile customers, text messaging services available, Text iQuit to 123456 to register.
  • Telehealth Ontario - To get telephone based smoking cessation support 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, call 1-866-797-0000 or TTY at 1-866-797-0007. Services are provided in both English and French, with telephone interpretation available to support callers in more than 300 languages.
  • The Ottawa Public Health Information Line: 613-580-6744 or TTY: 613-580-9656

Ready to quit high school students, go to:

  • Talk to your school guidance counselor

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