Stoptober HalfwayAs you reach the two week milestone on your Stoptober smoke free journey, you may be feeling that things are getting more challenging rather than easier. Although it can be tricky, motivation and determination are often high as you navigate your way through your first few days smoke free. As the days go on, the part of the brain that wants its regular doses of nicotine begins to realise that this change is for good. As a stop smoking adviser I see many people, often with similar withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Restlessness and disturbed sleep
  • Headaches and difficulty concentrating
  • Increased appetite and possible weight gain
  • Strong urges to smoke.

This is normal; your brain wants you to smoke, it has become used to it and when you say no, it uses whatever means it can to try and get you to smoke… but stay strong! The only way to break the addiction to nicotine is to be 100% smoke free – even a single puff can wake up the part of the brain that you are working so hard to send to sleep. By resisting every urge to smoke, you will find that over the next couple of weeks it will get easier and the cravings will become less frequent and significantly weaker.

When you feel the urge to smoke, you want to stop those cravings DEAD in their tracks:

D – Delay: say you’ll wait an hour. It’s surprising how quickly the feeling passes and is no longer on your mind.

E – Escape: the situation that is tempting you to smoke. Whether it is stressful or social, make your excuses and leave… they’ll understand.

A – Avoid: in the first few tricky weeks, it is key to avoid those occasions that you know will be a challenge. It won’t need to be forever, but just for the time being it may be best to forego situations where you know it will be difficult to say ‘no’.

D – Distract: this is one of the main tools in your stop smoking toolbox. If you feel the urge to smoke then do something else. Take the dog out, make a cup of tea, call a friend, do a crossword, wash up – anything that will distract you, even if just for five minutes as this is often long enough for the feeling to subside, so that you can carry on with your day.

Don’t forget, if you are stopping smoking, your stop smoking adviser is always there to give you advice and support in managing urges to smoke, as well as other withdrawal symptoms.

Visit to share your experiences, track your success and get more tips and motivation for your stop smoking journey.

For more information or to access support you can contact Sue Pretty on 07912 290653 or at