Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C

Broke after Christmas? 7 tips to help you quit smoking and save money

You’ll be happier, healthier AND richer. What’s not to like?

IF YOU’RE THINKING of quitting smoking you probably have a list of reasons lined up as to why it’s a good idea.

From feeling better, breathing easier, to doing it for your family – there are so many reasons to quit.

But what about the money? Have you ever added up just how much it costs you to smoke?

If you smoke a pack a day, and spend €10 on it (yes, you can buy cheaper cigarettes or roll your own, but this is the measure we’re using), then you spend about €70 a week.

€70 can buy you -

  • A nice bottle of perfume or cologne
  • Dinner out for two with a bottle of wine
  • A night in a hotel

So in just three weeks you can smell great, be well fed AND get away for a mini-break.

One thing that may hit you as you try to stay away from smoking is the dreaded craving – that sneaky urge to have ‘just one’ smoke. Remember, almost everyone experiences cravings and they won’t last forever.

Typically, cravings for nicotine peak at just three to five minutes and will pass if you deal with them. They will also weaken over two to three weeks.

Every smoker is different, and while some might find stopping smoking harder than others, it’s important to remember that next to no-one regrets quitting. It can be uncomfortable at the beginning but Nicotine Replacement Therapy does make it easier for you to give up and increase your chances of success.

Anyway, to help you out along the way, we’ve put together seven distractions that will help keep you occupied for a few minutes – until that pesky craving passes.

1. Drink a glass of water

Giphy Giphy

Even something as simple as drinking water can help break a craving.

Unlike our feline friend there, we’d suggest getting a glass but each to their own.

There are no judgements here.


2. Send a text… or make a phone call

Giphy Giphy

Is there anyone you’ve been meaning to catch up with, recently?

Someone who you owe a text or call to?

Now’s your time. Pick up that phone and give them a shout. It’ll distract you and you’ll have a great ol’ natter with someone you’ve been meaning to reach out to.

And if you can’t call, a text will do just as well. Take a minute and compose something funny. They’ll appreciate it, and so will your lungs.

3. Walk around the block

Giphy Giphy

Getting outside for five minutes will really help to distract you and, combined with a brisk walk, will kick those cravings to the kerb.

If you don’t have time to leave work to go out for a quick stroll, try going up and down the stairs a couple of times, or even just heading to the bathroom and back.

Anything that takes away the focus from wanting a cigarette.

4. Coffee break

Giphy Giphy

Oftentimes the urge to have a cigarette is linked to having a break – so why not swap that cigarette break by mixing up your habits? Try some fruit juice, or a different-flavoured tea. You could even change the hand that you hold the cup in!

5. Dance party

Giphy Giphy

Now, this mightn’t be one you can do in the workplace – although you could run off to the bathroom and bust a move there for a minute or two, but having a little dance party for a few minutes will help shake off that craving (Taylor Swift style if you so choose).

Throw on some banging beats and sh-sh-shake it off.

6. Jumping jacks

Giphy Giphy

Again, probably not for the workplace, but jumping up and down for a few minutes will not only distract you, it will increase oxygen around the body and make you feel energetic.

You could have a coffee or tea break. It’s all about breaking habits really so it doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you don’t have a smoke.

7. Deep breaths

Giphy Giphy

Hey, if Don Draper can quit the smokes, so can you.

Taking a few deep breaths will distract you from the craving and also have a calming effect.

You don’t need to do it for a full five minutes – even three deep breaths will help to distract you from the craving, but if you can add a little meditation (otherwise known as quiet deep breathing) to your life, you’ll see even more benefits than just helping to beat the cravings.

Plus, you’ll have more time to think about how you’re going to spend all that cash you’ll save. It’s a win-win.


Have you quit? Are you thinking about it? What would you buy with your savings? Let us know in the comments below.

It’s safe to say there’s a lot of savings to be made if you can quit smoking. In order to help you kick the habit and save some serious cash head over to the HSE’s website to find out more. From quit tips to live chat, there’s support available to help you create your own personalised quitting plan – so there’s never been a better time to ditch the cigs for good. 

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.