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Readers' stories of how they quit smoking

We invited ex-smokers to share their stories of how they quit smoking. We received interesting stories below. Please share your Quit stories @

Cheryl Capetown


"After having smoked cigarettes for more than 40 years, and having tried to quit countless times, today (3/5/2020) I am on Day 13 minus nicotine. At the start of the lockdown I knew that the day would arrive when I would wake up to find that my cigarette stash was completely depleted, with no option to buy more. I had stretched my supplies so that they could last longer, and with each passing day I was smoking less to make them last as long as possible. It hasn't been easy to break a 40+ year addiction, and my many failed attempts have been very disheartening. This time though, I handled it differently than before. I roped in family and friends for advice and support, and they have been an amazing source of strength and resilience. I am practising mindfulness, meditation and slow, conscious breathing, and these tools are proving to be very helpful, as are some herbal and homeopathic aids.

I have calculated that by the end of one year, quitting smoking would have saved me R9600.00, which I plan to spend on a trip to Greece. I’m also finding that food tastes better, and that my skin is clearer and noticeably less sallow. I realize now how counterproductive it has been to smoke and simultaneously spend money on good quality skin care products! The benefit I am appreciating the most though, is the simple release and mental freedom from the daily practice of smoking - tobacco no longer controls me.


I know that it's early days yet, and that I will always have to be alert to the triggers that may lead me to light up once more. But as each tobacco-free day passes, my confidence is increasing that this time, partly because of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, I really am going to kick this ghastly habit for good. Already this is my longest tobacco-free period in more than 40 years; I was advised that the cravings will ease with time, and they are. This lockdown journey has taught us all so many lessons about resilience and perseverance, and I also credit it with my ability to look forward to the next part of my journey, including that trip to Greece, minus nicotine."

Cheryl, Cape Town


Mark 7 July 2020

"My name is Mark. It was very difficult the first 3 days after quitting. Not bad now after 85 days. It gets easier each day. Considering l was a smoker for around 45 years and quit cold turkey."


Audio from Sipho in Pinetown

PTT-20200718-WA0022 (online-audio-converSipho Quit caller Audio 1
00:00 / 02:53
PTT-20200718-WA0023Sipho Audio 2
00:00 / 01:18

The Heart and Stroke Foundation has professional staff that can provide educational support during the challenging time you may face when trying to stop tobacco smoking. During the period of the lockdown you may call 0842507374 for assistance.


The Cancer Association of South Africa runs an online program which provides support and information for smokers who would like to stop smoking at

If you are struggling with breaking the addiction cycle you can also reach out to - the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA) via WhatsApp on 076 535 1701 or call them on 011 892 3829.


For help on how to manage stress and anxiety you can call the South African Depression and Anxiety Support Group who can be contacted on 0800 21 22 23 and 0800 70 80 90


Stop smoking

You don't have to do it alone

You can call the QUITLINE  

on 011 720 3145 


 Also contact us via WhatsApp on 063 828 2909


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