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In over 50% of cases, nicotine is a highly addictive substance, both physically and psychologically. When they stop smoking, addicts experience withdrawal symptoms of varying nature and duration. During the first four weeks, symptoms mainly include irritability (or aggressiveness), sadness (or mild depression), restlessness and difficulty concentrating.

 Later, usually more than 10 weeks after quitting, appetite may increase and the urge to smoke may become very strong.

Repeated attempts to quit smoking are not evidence of a weak personality. On the contrary, it's a sign of a sincere desire to quit smoking successfully.

There are many reasons why smokers decide to quit. The most frequently cited are the desire to set an example for their children, the price of cigarettes, the effect of smoke on non-smokers (especially family members) and the impact of smoking on their health.


Your best ally in quitting smoking is... Your family doctor. Successful smoking cessation requires the support of a specialist doctor. Yet 85% of smokers who try to quit do so without outside help. In doing so, they are depriving themselves of effective support. General practitioners are often indispensable in motivating smokers to quit. What's more, they can also play a decisive role in relapse prevention by providing therapeutic support (e.g. nicotine substitutes).

On average, it takes five to seven quit attempts before smoking cessation is sustainable.


There's no one right way to quit smoking for everyone. Depending on the degree of dependence and the reason for smoking, each person must find his or her own method. To establish your own stop-smoking method, the advice of a doctor or tobaccologist may be useful (to find a tobaccologist near you, consult the "Find a tobaccologist" page of the Tobacco Information Service).

Gradually reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke. To do this, write in your pack the number of cigarettes you have decided to smoke in a day. Try to smoke only half as many cigarettes before you cut back.
Decide on a day when you will stop smoking. Announce it to those around you and put out your last cigarette on that day.

Expect to feel irritable and nervous for a few days, until the physical dependence wears off. Psychological dependence takes longer to disappear and can take months or even years.
Limit smoking. Gradually reduce the number of rooms in the house where smoking is allowed.
Get encouragement and support from friends who have quit smoking. People who use this method are twice as likely not to start smoking again within a year.
Use the money you save to buy yourself a gift.

Sport. Sport can help smokers and reduce the tendency to gain weight that often occurs after quitting.
Plan your day to avoid moments when you're tempted to light up a cigarette. If coffee after a meal really makes you want to smoke, do something else instead, or have your coffee in a non-smoking area.

Keep your fingers busy, especially during the first non-smoking days. Play with a pen or an anti-stress object. But avoid using your hands to pick up food! To quit smoking without gaining weight, remember that it's not quitting that makes you fat, but eating more to resist temptation!

If you're hungry, chew gum or nibble an apple. When blood sugar levels fall, some smokers turn to a cigarette for a boost of energy.
Avoid alcohol. Alcohol is the best way to take away your willpower.


An electronic cigarette is a device that simulates the act of smoking. It consists of a reservoir containing propylene glycol, flavorings and sometimes nicotine, and a heating device. Smoke composed of water vapor escapes from the device, giving the impression of smoking. Various models are available. 

Some are disposable e-cigarettes, while others are refillable and economical. E-cigarettes are much less toxic than cigarettes, as they do not release carcinogenic substances. In a new recommendation published in January 2014, the French National Authority for Health (HAS) does not recommend e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid "at present", as their benefits and absence of harmful effects have not been fully established.

 It does, however, state that their use as part of a smoking cessation attempt "should not be recommended" to smokers who have started vaping in the hope of quitting.