​Quitting smoking is not easy and there will be times when the urge to smoke may be hard to resist.

"While smoking a cigarette or two during your 'quit journey' is not a failure, it is important to learn from the situation," says Joyce Chan, a certified smoking cessation pharmacist at UHN. "Find out why it happened so that you can get back on track to staying smoke-free."

Chan says it is important to identify what makes you want to smoke, and find ways to deal with the triggers before they happen. 


Icon of cigarette broken in half 

Below are some ways that have helped others manage the urge to smoke. These tips may help you as well:

  • Throw out your matches, lighters and ashtrays
  • Remind friends and family that you are quitting and ask for their support. Give friends and family specific examples of how they can support you.
  • When you feel the urge to smoke, drink water to keep your mouth busy. You can also keep your hands busy by squeezing a stress ball, washing the dishes, doing a crossword puzzle, knitting, drawing or playing a musical instrument.
  • Take deep breaths or go for a walk to help you relax and control the cravings or "stress" of quitting
  • Write a note to yourself with all your reasons for quitting and read it during cravings


The Princess Margaret Patient & Family Library offers free resources about smoking cessation. Below are links to information pamphlets about quitting smoking or using tobacco.

About Quitting Smoking or Using Tobacco

Information on Quitting Smoking for First Nations, Inuit and Métis (FNIM) Populations

Information on Lower-Risk Use of Cannabis

Last reviewed: 5/4/2022
Last modified: 11/29/2022 6:45 AM