Time to be the best quitter

The best time to quit smoking was years ago, but the next best day is today, The National Council Against Smoking (NCAS) can help.

I’ve tried quitting smoking, how old you are or how many years you have been smoking, the benefits of quitting always outweigh the challenges you will face in trying to quit. 

If you’re thinking about stopping smoking, or if you want to help someone you know to stop smoking, NCAS can help. We are here to help, advise and encourage you and not to judge and criticise.

Nicotine dependency can be overcome 

Many smokers want to quit smoking, but smoking is an addiction. Nicotine creates a dependency, and we find that most smokers start smoking as teenagers or young adults. People who start smoking at an early age are more likely to develop a severe addiction to nicotine than those who start at a later age. 

The good news is that nicotine dependency can be overcome, with your determination and our encouragement to kick this habit.

Quitting improves the quality of life and can add as much as 10 years to life expectancy. It also protects those around you; second-hand smoke causes many health problems in children. It causes their lungs to develop poorly, sometimes their lungs never grow to full potential, leading them to get infections, like pneumonia and bronchitis, easily. 

Motivation and dependence

It’s important to consider two things when quitting smoking: motivation and dependence. Motivation can be measured by answering a simple question: Am I ready to quit? If the answer is yes, then you’re on your way. If the answer is no or not now, then you need to work on your motivation. 

Motivation is not constant, it changes with time and circumstances. You can increase motivation by reaching out to our Quitline, and by embracing thoughts like Quitting is the best thing for my health, l can do it too. 

Dependence can be measured with two questions: How many cigarettes a day do you smoke? How soon after you wake, do you smoke your first cigarette? The more cigarettes a day you smoke or smoking within half-an-hour of waking up are signs that you are reliant on cigarettes. If your dependence is high, medicines, like nicotine patches, gum or spray, bupropion or varenicline which can be accessed in pharmacies, can help you.

These two measures tell you what to expect, but, remember, you can overcome dependence. Many chain-smokers quit once they make up their mind to do so. 


  1. Get ready to quit: Call the Quitline at 011 720 3145 or send a WhatsApp message/SMS to 072 766 4812 and we will help you get started.
  2. Set up a quit date, whilst you are still motivated to quit.
  3. Plan your survival kit. 
  4. This means to prepare to deal with the problems, discomfort and cravings. Identify smoking patterns and scenarios that ignite your urge to smoke, plan on how to avoid these and how to substitute cigarettes. Some smokers report smoking more when they’re drinking alcohol or socialising with friends who smoke. If this is you, avoid this for the first few weeks and switch to other beverages you don’t associate with cigarettes.
  5. Decide if you’re going to use quitting smoking aids, like nicotine patches, and speak to a pharmacist for help. Remember that these don’t totally remove the withdrawal symptoms, it only reduces them. Many people quit with no aids.
  6. Reach out for help. Enlisting support from friends and family especially ex-smokers is also key.
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The National Council Against Smoking was founded in 1976 and has been instrumental in advocating for legislation to reduce tobacco use and its harm on society. It has also played an active role in tobacco control advocacy and policy development in the SADC region, African region and globally.

Header image by Adocbe Stock