Quitting smoking - help on hard days

Stopping smoking can mean some days are challenging.

Some people:

  • get low moods
  • feel lonely
  • become irritable or anxious

You’re not used to coping without cigarettes. This is normal and will pass as your body copes with nicotine withdrawal.

Using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) for 12 weeks in reducing doses will help your body to wean off nicotine.

How to cope with bad days

If you smoked to deal with day-to-day stress or boredom, becoming a non-smoker can be hard to get used to. You might be more aware of stress for a while. You’re doing something great for your physical health. But your emotions might take a week or 2 to catch up.

These feelings are very common and they will go away. They might only last a few hours or days. It gets much easier after about 4 weeks.

Stress - tips and self-help

If you’re finding it hard, talking to someone else is a great place to start.

You can:

  • chat to a friend or someone you know who has already quit smoking
  • contact the HSE Quit team for support to help you stop smoking - we have web chat, people to talk to you on the phone and you can email us too
  • connect with the Quit Facebook page for support on your quitting journey

It’s also a good idea to find ways of managing your feelings. Remind yourself that they’re temporary and will go away. Remember that you decided to quit smoking for a very good reason.

If you’ve had bad news or are feeling stressed and want to smoke, remember that smoking will not change the news or help the situation.

Page last reviewed: 5 October 2022
Next review due: 5 October 2025