Close up of open pack of cigarettes

Stoptober - tips to stop smoking from our community

Stoptober is almost over. We know lots of you have given up or cut down smoking this month (go you!) but if you haven’t, it’s not too late.

The evidence is clearer than ever that smoking can make your MS worse, so there’s never a better time to quit than now.

Need some extra help? We caught up with Steve and Robert from our community who both recently gave up smoking. Here are their top tips to help you kick the habit:

1. Ease yourself in

Robert: “When I initially gave up, I used a vaporizer with a flavoured juice which was 0% nicotine. This gave me the motion of having a cigarette and blowing out smoke which gave me the sensation of smoking. Basically I was trying to trick my brain. After six weeks I even stopped using this as I was nicotine free.”

2. Avoid temptation and keep busy

Steve: “Don't buy any ciggies and most importantly, avoid booze for a couple of weeks.”

Robert: “I keep myself busy with decorating and other projects, big or small. Things that give me satisfaction but also keep my mind occupied.”

3. Remember why you’re doing it

Robert: “The main thing helping me stay away from cigarettes is this thought: At the top of my ladder is primary/secondary progression, stick or Zimmer frame or even a wheelchair, a loss of freedom and independence. Every time I have a cigarette, I take a step closer to this scenario.”

4. Reward yourself

Steve: “Use a tin or jar for putting the money in that you would have spent on ciggies.”

5. Change your diet… or don’t!

Robert: “Concentrating on eating well gives me the thought ‘you've just had a lovely healthy meal, do you really want a dirty cigarette afterwards?’”

Steve: “I swapped coffee for tea and I had snacks, but not always healthy ones - I'm quitting smoking, not becoming a monk!”

6. Get support

Robert: “I enrolled in the NHS stop smoking course where I went to see a counsellor once a week to chat about how to give up. They also measured the carbon monoxide level in my body which is now the same as a non-smoker. This was another goal for me to aim for and focus on, as well as talking to someone who wants to help you achieve your goal.”

Find your route to quit smoking today

Inspired by Steve and Robert's successes? There's plenty of help out there to support you to give up smoking:

If you live in England - find help on the NHS.uk website

If you live in Scotland - find help on the NHS inform website

If you live in Wales - find help on the Help Me Quit website

If you live in Northern Ireland - find help on the Want 2 Stop website

If you have any more questions about smoking and MS, you can call our free MS Helpline on 0808 800 8000 or email helpline@mssociety.org.uk.