Are you considering quitting tobacco?
Sluta-röka-linjen, the quit smoking helpline, offers support and advice to anyone who would like to quit cigarettes and other tobacco or nicotine products. We use evidence-based methods, that is, methods backed up by research. Our service is free of charge and you can remain anonymous. Friends and family who would like advice on how to support someone trying to quit are also welcome to contact us.
Would you like us to call you?
If you would like one of our advisors to contact you, please fill in your contact details in the contact form at the bottom of this page. We will usually get back to you within two weeks. We have Swedish, English and Arabic-speaking advisors. We can also offer interpreting services for most other languages.
For some people, talking to us just the once is enough, while others prefer more extended contact. The support offered by the quit smoking helpline is based on your particular circumstances and needs. We also offer advice on nicotine replacement therapy and other medication for quitting tobacco. However, please note that we cannot issue prescriptions or offer medical advice. For such services, we must refer you to your healthcare provider.
Reasons for quitting
There are many reasons for wanting to quit tobacco. You are welcome to call us whether your doctor has advised you to quit, you are concerned about your health or you would like to spend your money on things other than tobacco.
For some people, quitting tobacco is a life-changing moment they have been longing for, while for others the challenge can seem overwhelming. And in some cases, both sentiments are true.
Mixed feelings about quitting
Most people who are considering quitting tobacco have mixed feelings about it. Nicotine is highly addictive and affects your brain’s reward system. Tobacco use provides a sense of satisfaction, and the absence of nicotine can result in unpleasant feelings. This often leads to continued tobacco use despite the negative consequences impacting your life. You may have every reason in the world to quit, but it can still seem impossible. The good news is that help is on hand. We use evidence-based methods to help you achieve the changes you want to make. This includes support for both the physical and psychological challenges you may face.
Health benefits of quitting smoking
Tobacco smoke contains countless harmful substances. Smoking is one of the biggest global public health issues. Smoking-related diseases are the most common cause of premature death. Smoking increases the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), diabetes and many other diseases. Quitting smoking reduces the risk of developing smoking-related diseases.
Breathing in tobacco smoke without smoking yourself is known as passive smoking. Repeated exposure to tobacco smoke over a long period of time exposes you to the same kind of health risks as a smoker, albeit to a lesser extent. Children are particularly vulnerable. They have an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome, asthma, allergies, ear infections and pneumonia when exposed to smoke.
Do you use a waterpipe?
Many people think that using a waterpipe is less dangerous than smoking cigarettes. However, the smoke contains the same kinds of hazardous substances as cigarette smoke. These include nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide and heavy metals. The water does not purify the smoke. A waterpipe produces large amounts of smoke that can harm both the smoker and anyone nearby.
How do you quit tobacco?
The best way to quit tobacco is the way that gets you to refrain. What helps varies greatly between people – there is no one right way. Usually, it is a case of finding a way to deal with the urge to use tobacco. Learning to accept the thoughts and feelings of wanting to smoke without doing so is crucial. If you are addicted to tobacco, the change can require quite an effort.
The effort required to quit can be considerable. Accordingly, it is a good idea to choose a time to quit that fits in with your life. This ensures a structured process, making it easier to understand and follow. Research has shown that timing a change with a fresh start increases the likelihood of success. This could be a birthday, a new year or simply the start of the coming week. Waiting for things to suddenly feel right can entail a very long wait.
If you prepare to quit, you are more likely to succeed. These preparations could include practising how to manage cravings, asking the people around you for support, asking your healthcare provider for advice and getting medication. Some of these preparations could be to make smoking more difficult and less appealing. This has the advantage of also making not smoking more appealing and rewarding. For example:
- Decide to smoke only in a place that is uncomfortable and inconvenient.
- Clean and wash everything that smells of smoke.
- Picture how you would like to see yourself and how you would like to live your life. If that includes being a non-smoker, then refraining from smoking is what will make that happen.
- Enjoy the feeling of not smoking and note the positive changes in your body. They will come sooner than you expect.
Physical activity and general advice
Physical activity means moving in a way that uses energy. All movement is good. Both moderate and vigorous physical activity improve health and can help you quit tobacco. Physical activity stimulates both the body and the brain’s reward system in a similar manner to nicotine. It also helps to relieve withdrawal symptoms as well as any unpleasant feelings. Moreover, physical activity provides a healthy form of distraction when you get the urge to smoke.
Some other advice:
- To keep your blood sugar level stable – eat regularly.
- To avoid dehydration – drink plenty of water.
- Consider using nicotine replacement therapy or other medication for quitting tobacco.
Be kind to yourself
Tobacco addiction makes your body resist change. In most cases, this involves a certain amount of unpleasantness. Trying to fight these feelings often results in greater discomfort.
The best way to deal with the unpleasantness is to take care of yourself. Being kind and considerate to yourself when you experience difficulties eases your discomfort.
- Make things easy for yourself and try to relax.
- Plan activities that you enjoy.
- Let your experience be what it is, whether good or bad.
Nicotine is highly addictive. When you use tobacco, your body adapts to the regular supply of nicotine and this becomes its normal state. This means that your body and brain need to readjust when you quit. You may become irritable, tired, unfocused, low and restless. You may also experience headaches, sweating, an upset stomach and generally unpleasant feelings.
Making it sustainable in the long run
Most people find quitting tobacco challenging. The change can be quite demanding, especially at the beginning of the process. Moreover, the memory of using tobacco remains in the brain and body for a long time after you quit. This means that you can get a strong urge to use tobacco when you least expect it. This may be something that you have experienced in the past or recognise as a concern for you. Although the feeling may surprise you, you can continue on your planned path. You just need to be prepared.
Consider which situations you think might give you the urge to use tobacco and plan for alternative actions that can help. And remember, it is perfectly normal to feel the urge to use tobacco, and you can always call us for support and advice.
You can quit tobacco even if it seems difficult. Usually, the process takes time, and you may hit a few bumps in the road. Just remember that professional help is on hand. Having evidence-based support along the way will improve your chances of success – and you are most welcome to contact us.