We know that quitting smoking is one of the biggest challenges you will face. These tips will help keep you motivated and on track.
If you want to stop smoking, you can make small changes to your lifestyle that can help you resist the temptation to have a cigarette.
1. Think positive
Even if you have tried to quit smoking before and not succeeded, try not to let that discourage you. Reflect on what your previous attempt to quit taught you and think about how you're really going to do it this time.
2. Make a plan
Make a promise, set a date and stick to it. Share this date with your friends and family so you are essentially holding yourself accountable.
Think ahead to times where it might be difficult to stick to it (a party or night out, for example), and plan your actions and escape routes ahead of time.
3. Consider what you’re eating/drinking
An American study showed that certain foods, including meat, appear to make cigarettes more satisfying. On the contrary, other foods, such as cheese, fruit and vegetables make cigarettes taste awful. Try swapping your usual meat intake for a veggie version.
The same study looked at drinks, finding that fizzy drinks, alcohol, coca cola, tea and coffee all make cigarettes taste better.
Try to drink more water and juice when you’re out. Some people find simply changing their drink affects their urge to reach for a cigarette.
4. Identify when you crave
A craving can last 5 minutes. Before your give-up-date, make a list of 5-minute strategies to distract yourself until the craving passes. For example, if a bad craving hits at a party you could leave for a minute, dance or mingle and chat with people.
If that doesn’t work, repeat this fact to yourself: the combination of smoking and drinking raises your risk of mouth cancer by 38 times.
5. Get some support
If you have friends or family members who are determined to quit too, suggest that you do so together. There is also support available locally – pop into your local StayWell Pharmacy and ask our friendly Pharmacist for any help and advice you may need.
Did you know that you're up to 4 times more likely to quit successfully with expert help and advice?
6. Get moving
A review of scientific studies has proved exercise - even a 5-minute walk or stretch - cuts cravings and may help your brain produce anti-craving chemicals.
Physical activity is also a great way of dealing with the stress you may feel around quitting. Try walking, running, swimming, or take up a new activity. It might feel difficult to begin with, but your lung capacity improves by as much as 10% nine months after you quit so you will be able to do more.
7. Make non-smoking friends
When you're at a party or even at work, stick with the non-smokers. This tip speaks for itself - you don’t want to be around people puffing away and triggering your cravings.
8. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can double your chances of success.
As well as patches, there are tablets, lozenges, gum and a nasal spray you can try, to see which works best for you and your smoking habits. And if you like holding a cigarette, there are handheld products like inhalers or e-cigarettes that your StayWell Pharmacist can recommend.
9. Remind yourself why
Keep reminding yourself why you made the decision to give up in the first place. This might be for your family, for your friends or simply for your own lifestyle. Make a list of the reasons and read it when you need support or keep a picture with you of who you’re quitting for.
When you feel tempted, glance at the picture or the list to remind yourself why you started this journey to quit.
Information from the NHS website and Nicorette.ie