Stopping smoking

Stopping smoking is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of stroke - no matter how old you are or how long you have smoked. Even cutting down can reduce stroke risk.

Man with child on his shoulders
Smokers are twice as likely to die from a stroke, compared to people who don’t smoke.

Help to stop smoking

1. NHS Stop Smoking Service

  • There is a free local Stop Smoking Service near you. With their help, you're 3 times as likely to quit successfully.

Find out more information about your local service.

2. Medication

There are different types of medication available either on prescription or to buy from a pharmacy or supermarket. Speak to your GP or a Stop Smoking Service about what is best for you.

  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT): patches, gum, lozenges, microtabs, inhalators and nasal sprays
  • Champix tablets (varenicline)
  • Zyban tablets (bupropion)
Click here for more information about the medication above.

3. e-cigarettes

  • e-cigarettes allow you to inhale nicotine in a vapour rather than smoke, which is less harmful than cigarettes. They are most effective if used with support from an NHS stop smoking service. E-cigarettes are not currently available on prescription.

Click here for more information about e-cigarettes.

Tips to stop smoking

1. Remember your motivations to quit

  • Common motivations are family, health or finances.
  • Make a list and keep it to hand for when you are tempted.

2. Tell people you're quitting

  • If you tell people, you have more accountability.

3. Have a plan if you are tempted to smoke

  • A craving can last 5 minutes, make a list of 5-minute strategies to cope with cravings.

4. Know your smoking triggers and how to avoid them

  • Make a list of your triggers and strategies to avoid them.

5. Keep cravings at bay by keeping busy and exercising

  • Keep your hands and mouth busy e.g. hold your drink in the hand you smoke with.

Helpful resources



  • NHS Smoking Helpline: 0300 123 1044