Getting Help to Quit

Make sure to tell your health care team if you’re trying to quit, as your medication needs may change.


Smoking cravings can happen at any time. Before you smoke try following the 4 Ds.

DELAY - Cravings often go away within 3 to 5 minutes so try to wait it out.

DRINK WATER - Instead of reaching for tobacco, reach for a glass of cold water.

DISTRACT - Find something to keep your mind and hands busy.

DEEP BREATHING - It can help you relax and push away the urge to smoke.

Sometimes you need more assistance with quitting smoking, and there are many options you can seek out to help you on your journey. By employing a quit method using both counselling and medication you can triple your chance of success.


When quitting smoking it is always helpful to have someone to talk to.

This could include some like a family member, friend, Elder, Pastor or Community Health Representative. You can also seek help from medical professionals including your doctor, nurse practitioner, pharmacist, local public health, your cancer care team or your community National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program Worker.

Other options include joining a quit smoking group, or contacting the Smokers’ Helpline either by phone (1-877-513-5333) or on their website. If you are in Northwestern Ontario, has a list of places you can go for counselling and support. There are also many smartphone apps out there to help, try searching the app store to find one that works for you.

It can be difficult to quit smoking by yourself, consider finding someone to help.

Join a Contest

Sometimes it can help to join a contest since it gives you a sense of reward over and above how good it feels to quit smoking. The support of a group can also be the motivation to see you through your quit smoking journey. Both Run to Quit and the First Week Challenge Contest offer you the opportunity to quit alongside others and even give you the chance to win a prize!

Additionally, Leave the Pack Behind offers an annual quit smoking contest for Ontario residents between the ages of 18-29. More information is available here:


There are many different types of medication you can use to help with quitting smoking, both prescription and over the counter. Nicotine Replacement Therapy or NRTs can help reduce nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms, and in some cases can even double your chances of successfully quitting. Be sure to talk to your pharmacist or health care provider for help finding the medication that is right for you.

If cost is an issue, some private insurance or benefit plans, such as the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program for First Nations and Inuit or the Ontario Drug Benefit plan, will even help you with the cost.

There are also some programs available to provide help including STOP on the Road and Leave the Pack Behind, both of which provide free Nicotine Replacement Therapy. The Centre for Addition and Mental Health is also always available to help you quit smoking.

As always be sure to talk with your health care provider before beginning any medication.

If You Slip

Don’t give up and don’t be hard on yourself, it’s common for people to have slip-ups.

If you do:

  • Change the situation Avoid or leave places or situations you connect with smoking
  • Think positively Think about how far you’ve come and do your best to keep going
  • Take action Do something that makes it hard to smoke, chew gum, drink some water or go for a walk
  • Ask for help Talk to a friend, family member or your cancer care team
  • Don’t give up Quitting is possible and you can do it
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