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​6 New Habits to Form During Your Smoking Cessation Journey

23rd May 2024

6 New Habits to Form During Your Smoking Cessation Journey

Quitting smoking is like breaking up with a particularly clingy ex: it’s challenging, emotionally taxing, and sometimes you find yourself inexplicably craving their presence at the most inconvenient times.

But don’t worry, unlike your ex, cigarettes won’t flood your social media with dramatic status updates or show up uninvited to your birthday party. Instead, they'll just try to sneak back into your life via cravings and habits.

The good news? You can outsmart them with a little determination, a realistic plan and six new, healthier habits to form during your smoking cessation journey:

3 friends exercising

1. Embrace Regular Physical Activity and Set Realistic Goals

Incorporating gentle exercise into your routine and setting achievable goals is like having a secret weapon in your back pocket. It's a fantastic way to tackle both the physical and mental hurdles that come with kicking the habit. Plus, gentle, and moderate exercise brings a whole lot of perks to help you stay on track:

It keeps your mind busy and off those sneaky cravings.

It boosts your mood, making you feel like a superhero.

It helps you sleep better, so you’re not up all night dreaming about a crafty drag.

So, why not swap the ciggy for a quick jog, a leisurely walk, or even a bit of dancing around the living room? Your future self will thank you!

Benefits of Exercise

Reduces Cravings: Physical activity helps reduce the intensity of nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Boosts Mood: Exercise triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural mood lifters, which can help combat the irritability and depression that often accompany stopping smoking.

Improves Health: Regular exercise enhances lung function, cardiovascular health, and overall fitness, which can motivate you to stay smoke-free.

How to Get Started

Choose Enjoyable Activities: Find physical activities you enjoy, whether it's walking, cycling, swimming, or dancing. The more you enjoy the activity, the more likely you are to stick with it.

Start Small: If you're new to exercise, start with small, manageable goals. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.

Stay Consistent: Consistency is key. Try to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine at the same time each day to build a lasting habit.

Set Short and Long-Term Goals: Setting clear goals can help keep you motivated and focused. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small, and use them as stepping stones towards your ultimate goal of being smoke-free.

Tips for Goal Setting: Be Specific: Set specific, measurable goals such as "I will not smoke for one week" or "I will exercise three times this week."

Track Your Progress: Keep a journal or use an app to track your progress and reflect on your successes and challenges.

Reward Yourself: Give yourself small rewards for meeting your goals, such as a special treat (like a weekend away with the money you are saving by not smoking) or a new book.

Physical Activity Resources:

NHS Live Well: The NHS provides comprehensive guidance on physical activity and fitness, including tailored exercise plans and tips for staying active. Visit NHS Fitness.

Woman and man doing Tai Chi against sunset

2. Practise Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation are like the magic toolkit for keeping your cool and dodging cravings while you kick the smoking habit. These nifty tricks can help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings, allowing you to respond to cravings with greater control and calmness. So, you can better manage those pesky cravings with the grace of a Zen master.

Benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation

Reduces Stress: Mindfulness and meditation can significantly reduce stress levels, helping you manage one of the primary triggers for smoking.

Enhances Self-Awareness: These practices help you become more aware of your smoking triggers and habitual responses, enabling you to make more conscious choices.

Improves Emotional Regulation: Mindfulness and meditation can improve your ability to regulate emotions, reducing the likelihood of turning to cigarettes for comfort.

How to Get Started

Find a Quiet Space: Set aside a quiet space and time each day for mindfulness or meditation practice.

Start with Guided Sessions: If you're new to mindfulness or meditation, start with guided sessions using apps or online videos.

Be Patient: Mindfulness and meditation require practice. Be patient with yourself and try to practise regularly, even if it's just for a few minutes each day.

Mindfulness and Mental Wellbeing Resources:

NHS Mindfulness: The NHS provides excellent resources and guides on mindfulness and mental wellbeing. Visit NHS Mindfulness.

Family smiling and cooking healthy meal

3. Put the Cookie Down…and Adopt a Balanced Diet

Now, let's talk grub. A balanced diet is your new best mate. Eating right helps your body bounce back from all that puffing, gives your immune system a superhero cape, and keeps those cravings at bay. So, load up on the good stuff and watch your body thank you!

Benefits of a Balanced Diet

Supports Healing: A nutritious diet provides your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to heal from the damage caused by smoking.

Reduces Cravings: Certain foods, like fruits and vegetables, can help reduce nicotine cravings.

Maintains Energy Levels: Eating balanced meals helps maintain stable energy levels, reducing the temptation to smoke for a quick energy boost.

How to Get Started

Focus on Whole Foods: Prioritise whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. These foods provide essential nutrients without added sugars and unhealthy fats.

Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Staying hydrated can help reduce cravings and flush toxins from your body.

Plan Your Meals: Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time to avoid the temptation of unhealthy foods. Having healthy options readily available can make it easier to make good choices.

Healthy Eating Resources:

NHS Eat Well: The NHS offers a wealth of information on healthy eating, including recipes, meal planning tips, and advice on maintaining a balanced diet. Visit NHS Healthy Eating.

3 women in painting class

4. Get Creative and find a new hobby!

Feeling stressed and itching for a smoke? Why not grab a paintbrush or a pen instead of a cigarette? Engaging in creative activities is a brilliant way to keep your hands busy and your mind off the cravings. Whether you fancy a bit of painting, writing, playing music, or even crafting something quirky, these artistic outlets can work wonders for your mood and help you stay smoke-free. So, pop on your artist's hat and let your creativity be the best part of your quitting toolkit!

Ideas for New Hobbies:

Learn a New Skill: Consider taking up a new hobby such as cooking, gardening, or painting.

Volunteer: Giving back to the community can provide a sense of purpose and fulfilment.

Read or Listen to Audiobooks: Immersing yourself in a good book or interesting podcast can be a fantastic way to pass the time and keep your mind off smoking.

Benefits of Creative Activities

Reduces Stress: Creative activities are a wonderful way to relax and de-stress, helping to manage one of the primary triggers for smoking.

Increases Focus: Engaging in creative tasks can improve focus and concentration, keeping your mind off cravings.

Boosts Self-Esteem: Completing creative projects can boost your self-esteem and provide a sense of accomplishment, reinforcing your commitment to staying smoke-free.

How to Get Started

Choose an Activity You Enjoy: Select a creative activity that you enjoy or have always wanted to try. The more you enjoy it, the more likely you are to stick with it.

Set Aside Time: Dedicate specific times during the week for your creative pursuits. Having a regular schedule can help make it a lasting habit.

Join a Group: Consider joining a group or class related to your creative interest. This can provide additional motivation and social support.


Local Community Centres and Libraries: Many offer classes and events where you can learn new skills and meet new people.

Music / Audiobook / Podcasts are widely available on websites and Apps such as BBC Sounds, Spotify or Audible.

3 women smiling

5. Build a Support Network

We all need a mate to have a chinwag with and a shoulder to cry on when life gets a bit tough. Quitting smoking isn't a solo mission – it's more like a team sport. Having a solid squad of friends, family, colleagues and even a professional or two can make all the difference.They’ll cheer you on, keep you on track, and dish out some top-notch tips along the way. So, round up your cheerleaders and get ready to kick that smoking habit to the kerb!

Benefits of a Support Network

Provides Encouragement: Supportive friends and family can offer words of encouragement and celebrate your milestones.

Offers Accountability: Sharing your goals with others can increase your accountability, making it harder to revert to old habits.

Provides Practical Advice: Others who have successfully quit smoking can share valuable tips and strategies.

How to Get Started

Communicate Your Goals: Let your friends and family know about your decision to quit smoking. Explain how they can support you, whether it's through encouragement, distraction, or avoiding smoking around you.

Join a Support Group: Consider joining a smoking cessation support group, either in person or online. These groups provide a sense of community and shared experience.

Seek Professional Help: Don't hesitate to seek professional help, such as counselling or nicotine replacement therapy. Professionals can offer personalised strategies and support.

Support Network Resources:

NHS Stop Smoking Services: The NHS offers free, local support services to help you quit smoking. These services provide personalised advice and resources to support your quit journey. Visit NHS Smokefree for more information.

Couple sitting against sunset

6. Develop a Relaxation Routine

Fancy a way to chill out and keep those cravings at bay? Developing a cracking relaxation routine can help you handle stress and ditch the urge to puff away. Sneaking in some relaxation techniques into your daily grind gives you a top-notch way to unwind and tackle life's curveballs.

Benefits of a Relaxation Routine

Reduces Stress: Regular relaxation helps lower stress levels, a major trigger for smoking.

Improves Sleep: Relaxation techniques can improve sleep quality, which is often disrupted during smoking cessation.

Enhances Wellbeing: Taking time to relax and unwind can improve your overall sense of wellbeing and reduce the likelihood of turning to cigarettes for comfort.

How to Get Started

Explore Different Techniques: Experiment with different relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, aromatherapy, or taking warm baths.

Create a Relaxing Environment: Designate a specific area in your home for relaxation. Make it a comfortable space with calming elements like soft lighting, soothing music, or pleasant scents.

Incorporate into Daily Routine: Try to incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily routine, especially during times you would typically smoke. Consistency can help make relaxation a habit.


NHS Smokefree App: The NHS offers a free app that helps you track your progress, set goals, and stay motivated. Download it from NHS Smokefree.

Family of 3 against sunset


Quitting smoking is a journey that requires commitment, patience, and the right plan for you. By forming new, healthy habits, you can support your smoking cessation efforts and enhance your overall wellbeing. You also must be kind to yourself and set realistic goals. Don’t try to push yourself too far too fast.

Regular physical activity, mindfulness and meditation, a balanced diet, engaging in creative activities, building a support network, and developing a relaxation routine are all powerful habits that can help you navigate the challenges of quitting smoking.

Remember, every small step you take towards forming these habits is a step closer to a healthier, smoke-free life. Celebrate your progress, stay positive, and seek support when needed. Your journey to quitting smoking is not just about giving up a habit, but also about embracing a new, healthier lifestyle which is also better for the environment too.

Good luck and enjoy every moment of your new smoke-free life.

About V2 UK

V2 UK has over 12 years of experience in helping smokers to choose a smarter alternative to smoking.

For more information and support on quitting smoking, visit our Smarter Alternative Hub Page

Read our disclaimer on Vaping and Smoking Cessation

NHS Resources

NHS Vaping to Quit Smoking

NHS Smokefree

NHS Mindfulness

NHS Healthy Eating

NHS Fitness