Stoptober- Day Three

October is Stoptober in the UK, the NHS’s stop smoking campaign. Which sees people encouraged to go smoke free for 28 days. Last year 160,000 people completed the challenge. This year has already seen 202,845 people sign up. To support everyone who is taking part in Stoptober and anyone else who may wish to quit smoking will be posting a Stoptober post every day of the challenge. 

Day Three- Nicotine Free


If you have reached day three you have eliminated nicotine from your system. Which is great news for your body, but perhaps not great news for your cravings.

Nicotine withdrawal kicks in about now. So you maybe feeling an intense craving for cigarettes, anxiety, tension, increased appetite and problems concentrating. This is not unusual and it does not mean that you can not live without cigarettes. You just may need a little help to elevate the withdrawal systems. Below are a few ways of reducing withdrawal:

Have a drink, of, Mate

Mate tea comes from the yerba mate plant. It is very popular in South America where it is associated with the gaucho culture. It is an appetite suppressant so will counter-act the increased appetite brought on by nicotine withdrawal. It is high in caffeine so while help to improve your alertness. And it has anti-toxicants properties so will help to clean your system.

Whilst it is traditionally brewed from loose dried leaves and drank through a calabash gourd (a special cup and tube) you can buy it in tea bag form. Sometimes it is mixed with other healing herbs like nettle.

For more on the health benefits of mate go to

Put a patch on it

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRTs) are designed to help reduce the impact of nicotine withdrawal. Available in skin patches, throat lozenges, nasal spray, chewing gum NRTs still provide your body with nicotine but in a safer form than cigarettes.

NRT does not contain tar, poisons or carbon monoxide like cigarettes do, so its very unlikely to cause cancer. It is absorbed into your body in a different way to the nicotine absorbed from cigarettes, and it is very much less addictive. According to the NHS you are four times as likely to remain smoke free if you opt to use a NRT.

For more on NRT’s go to NHS smoke free website.

 smoking can cause bad breath, stained skin, yellow teeth and hacking coughs none of which is particularly lovely

Stub it out with a substitute

The physical absence of holding or puffing on a cigarette is a constant cold reminder that you are not smoking. So fill the void by munching on a carrot stick, or sucking a sweet (though if you are worried about gaining weight the carrot stick would be better).

Or you could try an electronic cigarette. Like a NRT it provides nicotine, whilst also mimicking the action of smoking. It is not as cheap or healthy as a carrot stick, but it might help if you are really struggling. And you can use them inside a pub, on a bus, or train without getting lynched.

For an depth review of electronic cigarettes by a smoker go to gadget review website Engadet.

This too shall pass

Persian Sufi poets, Soloman, Edward Fitzgerald and even Abe Lincoln have all said it. And it is true. This too shall pass. Nicotine withdrawal does not last forever, and it is not nearly as severe as other addiction withdrawals. It is as much a psychological withdrawal as it is a physical one.

Remind yourself that it will pass, that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and once you are through to the other side you will not only be healthier but also wealthier and also possibly more lovelier (smoking can cause bad breath, stained skin, yellow teeth and hacking coughs none of which is particularly lovely).

For more on mind over matter withdrawal techniques go to the US Government cancer site.



About the author

Selina Cuff

Selina Cuff is Editor at She is also a freelance journalist, researcher and producer. Selina has contributed to publications including The Sunday Times, Global Post and The Independent. As well as working on various films and documentaries. Keenly interested in health and wellbeing, Selina is an advocate of alternative and complimentary medicines. She is often to be found covered in acupuncture needles, cycling up hills, or feeding people with homemade cakes.