Stop Trying to Quit Smoking (11 Hacks I’ve tried myself to Cut Down)

Written by Ahmed El Faramawy

Let’s agree that quitting smoking is tough. There are so many articles out there that make it seem easy, but we all know it’s not that simple. I’m not saying you can’t quit; I’m just saying it can be really hard. That’s why I tried some things to help me cut down on cigarettes. When I cut down, I felt better. Maybe this will encourage me to quit completely. Or maybe I’ll just smoke fewer cigarettes than I do today. Either way, it’s progress.

Here are 11 things that really helped me cut down and How effective they were:

Setting specific smoking times (5/5)

Everyone has a routine. For some, it’s in the morning with coffee (and sometimes the first thing when they wake up, unfortunately), a cigarette after meals (this is a big one), and a cigarette when they get upset (also a big one), and so on.

Let me advise you to specify the key times for smoking (I mean the times when you really feel like you need a cigarette) and stick to them. It’s important!

At first, focus on the cigarettes you light up automatically, without even thinking about it. These are more than you realize, especially compared to the ones you consciously decide to smoke.

Delaying the first cigarette of the day (5/5)

We often light up cigarettes automatically in the morning, without really craving them or feeling a lack of nicotine. I’m not saying there’s no chemical dependence involved; I’m just saying that a big part of the smoking habit is psychological, not just physical.

In the morning, our bodies absorb things more than at any other time of the day, so it’s a crucial time to avoid smoking.

Since I’m used to having a cigarette with my morning coffee, I was able to delay the morning cigarette by delaying my coffee.

After washing my face and brushing my teeth, I start my day by opening my laptop and checking my tasks for the day. Instead of making instant coffee, which takes about five minutes, I started making cappuccino, which takes about half an hour, allowing the milk and espresso to boil in the pot, and so on. Instead of smoking my first cigarette fifteen minutes after waking up, I might now wait two hours. During those two hours, I usually drink water, take my vitamins, snack on something from the fridge, and so on.

Switching the hand that holds the cigarette (5/4)

If you usually smoke with one hand, try using the other. This slight disruption in your smoking routine increases your awareness of the cigarette and makes it a bit more challenging because you’re not used to it. It’s a small psychological trick, and its effect isn’t very strong, but I’ve noticed that when I do this, I put out the cigarette early without finishing it.

Changing the smoking location (5/5)

Recently, I found that I could smoke while working, meaning I’m not forced to go to the smoking room or go out to the balcony. This is a very bad thing. I started keeping the cigarettes in the car, and when I wanted to smoke, I would go down and smoke there.

The effect of this is magical! The problem is that it requires a bit of determination because for two days, I found myself putting the cigarettes on another desk. But when I applied it, it made a huge difference. Not only did I reduce the cigarettes I smoke while working, but it also made the place where I work clean and not smelly.

The best example of this is the smoking room at the Airport. If you’ve tried it, you’ll understand what I mean.

When I travel to Dubai, I feel like an outcast when I smoke in a mall parking lot or next to a fire extinguisher on the street, and this greatly reduces smoking.

When I traveled to Turkey, and because many people there smoke in various age groups, types, and places, I felt that no matter how much I smoked, I still smoked less than anyone there, and that made me smoke more!

Location really makes a big difference!!

Brushing my teeth more often (5/2)

The trick here is that whenever I feel like I want to smoke a cigarette, I immediately get up and brush my teeth with toothpaste. The theory is that the feeling of cleanliness in general and oral cleanliness in particular reduces the psychological need to smoke. Taking a shower might also help a lot because it refreshes and changes the mood significantly, diverting your brain from smoking for a while.

Switching cigarettes with food (5/1)

Honestly, I tried this for a while and found that I was just replacing one bad habit with another. In the end, after not smoking for four days, I found myself smoking just like before… between cigarettes and lots of snacks, I felt completely empty.

Have you tried rolling cigarettes? (5/4)

Rolling cigarettes has several advantages and one disadvantage.

The only disadvantage is that cigarettes become unlimited. This means that one pack can roll about 120 cigarettes. So, you might end up buying 6 packs of cigarettes at once… which isn’t nice because having that many cigarettes available can increase your consumption. However, if you learn to roll easily and quickly, it can reduce your consumption.

But rolling has several other advantages:

  • You’ll look a bit cooler and more stylish, or like a hippie, depending on how people see you 😀
  • It reduces the times you can smoke. For example, you can’t roll while driving, standing, in the street in windy or rainy weather, or in a closed room. So, it reduces your smoking opportunities.
  • You can increase the number of cigarette filters and reduce the tobacco. This is a trick I tried myself since I’ve been smoking rolled cigarettes for more than 5 years. It’s a great trick; it reduces the smoke because of the increased filters and reduces the remaining space for tobacco in the cigarette (less tobacco and more filtered).
  • There are many things you can do with rolled cigarettes. For example, you can change the filters to carbon filters… change the type of rolling paper to a slower-burning one… and so on.

Support and encouragement (5/3)

I’m not the type of person who needs encouragement to make decisions in general. The truth is, I haven’t tried this myself, but it might work for you and it might not. But what’s certain is that it’s something that needs to be tried.

Try finding someone to challenge and support each other to quit. Even if they don’t smoke, they might have another type of addiction. They don’t even need to have an addiction to help you. The important thing is that I believe that healthy relationships play a big role in our mental health. So, if you have someone in your life who stands by you and helps you, make use of that.

Specialized help (5/5)

Let’s be honest, Smoking is an addiction, whether it’s a psychological or chemical addiction, whether we admit it or not. Addiction is a common mental disorder, and if we don’t know how to deal with it, we might need to see a psychologist or psychiatrist to help us in this journey.

What does exercise do? (5/5)

Exercise is very important. But the truth is, many smokers gradually move away from physical activities. Cigarettes are stronger than exercise and stronger than Mohamed Salah. The more cigarettes you smoke, the faster you get tired, and your physical effort decreases more and more, which increases your cigarette consumption.

But if you really want the knockout punch for cigarettes? Exercise is really the most effective solution.

Of course, we agreed not to be naive at first and understand that it’s not difficult. But here I’m talking about 10 minutes of exercise in quantity. Integrate it gradually into your life routine.

And do you want my opinion on this? The best time to exercise to quit or reduce smoking is in the morning, for three reasons, each more important than the other:

  • First: Your chest is relatively clean compared to the rest of the day, so physical effort is easier.
  • Second: A little morning exercise will give you a gentle power boost for the rest of the day.
  • Third: This will greatly help you apply the first hack and delay the first cigarette for a longer time.

If you like it (and most likely you will), you’ll find yourself gradually increasing these 10 minutes every day. Instead of doing it once in a while, you’ll find yourself doing it more, possibly more than once a day.

The weekly Green Day (5/5)

This is a trick I used to do and I wish to do it again because it really made a big difference. It’s having one day a week (usually Friday) without smoking at all.

To do this, you need to be surrounded by people who don’t smoke (and it’s preferable not to smoke in front of them at all). You’ll also gain by dedicating time to your family, children, or spouse, and so on. And for the rest of the week, do whatever you want.

Stop trying to quit smoking and start by reducing cigarettes.

Keep in mind that if you’ve decided to cut down, don’t try, just do it. Because believe me, reducing is much easier than quitting. Reducing can actually lead to quitting. And cigarettes aren’t really your friend. Take the “half blind is better than blind” approach. Trust me, if you succeed in cutting down two or three cigarettes a day without much effort, you’re still a winner.

One by one, when you start reducing the cigarettes you light up automatically, without thinking, you’ll start to be able to reduce the basic cigarettes I talked about in the first point. Replace them with other healthier habits.

And of course, everything I’ve said doesn’t matter or have any effect if you’re not really willing to do it. Decide to cut down when you really feel like you want to do it. Follow the principle of Yoda: “Never try. Do or do not.”

About the author


Ahmed El Faramawy

Proud founder of & I write here about psychology & my personal life experiences, in a trial to help you feel better & succeed in your life. I'm really into writing about negative thoughts... Or maybe negative thoughts are just really into me :D