Quitting smoking can be a challenge, but where there’s a will, there’s always a way. With the right support and guidance, you can confidently reach your stop smoking goals.
During our recent Stoptober campaign on Facebook, Dr Kieran shared daily tips and advice to help those trying to stop smoking, quit for good.
However, it doesn’t have to be Stoptober – deciding to quit can happen at any time… even now.
If you’re a smoker who would like to quit for good, then read on for our handy guide, where we discuss the why and the how.
Why should I quit smoking for good?
People often think smoking reduces stress levels. Studies show people’s stress levels are lower after they stop smoking.
Did you know that quitting smoking may lead to better sex? Men who stop smoking may get better erections and women may find their orgasms improve.
Quitting smoking improves your skin. By stopping, facial ageing will slow down and appearance of wrinkles will delay.
Smoking stains your teeth. By quitting, you will be on the way to whiter, brighter teeth and fresher breath.
Quitting smoking will help you to live longer! Half of long term smokers die from smoking related disease like heart disease, lung cancer and lung disease.
Stopping smoking can help improve fertility. Quitting smoking improves the lining of the womb and the quality of sperm.
Risk of cancer
Quitting smoking reduces the risk of breast cancer – smoking is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer in younger pre-menopausal women.
How do I quit smoking for good?
Tell friends, family and co-workers that you’re committed to this quit attempt. Ask them not to offer you cigarettes or smoke around you.
Remove all temptation
Throw away all lighters, ashtrays, cigarettes and tobacco. Don’t make it easy for yourself to cheat.
Identify your triggers
For many people having a drink and a smoke go hand in hand. If this is the case, try to fill up your diary with other activities that keep you busy. Invite friends over for a meal, go to the cinema or theatre. Often it is better to avoid bars and pubs during the first few weeks when the cravings are at their highest, particularly if this is your weak spot.
Change your habits
If you usually buy your cigarettes when you pick up your loaf of bread on the way home, get your bread from the bakery so you aren’t tempted to call in at the kiosk. Instead of lighting up on the walk to the office, chew gum or listen to a podcast. Your brain will adapt remarkably quickly.
Eat and drink healthily
Smoking suppresses your appetite so once you stop smoking you may find you’re hungry a lot. Anticipate this by stocking up on healthy fruits and vegetables to snack on. Stick to recommended portion sizes and wait 10 minutes before going back for seconds. Drink a glass of water before a meal and sip water if you’re hungry – you may just be thirsty and not actually need a snack after all.
Tackle withdrawal symptoms
Using a nicotine replacement or prescription medicine will help you to handle these symptoms. It is good to remember that the craving only lasts about 15-20 minutes, so if you can get through this time you will have done it. Try to distract yourself by going for a walk or put yourself in a situation when you wouldn’t usually smoke anyway, such as playing with your children or taking a shower.
Track your progress with an app
Keep note of how many smoke-free days you have had, how many cigarettes you’ve avoided and the health and financial benefits you will have gained. Use these to reaffirm your quit attempt and feel proud of what you have achieved.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
There is no shame in asking for help. Very often, talking to someone who knows what you’re going through can give you a real boost and spur you on to keep at it. You’re up to four times more likely to quit successfully if you use a combination of a stop smoking treatment and specialist help and support from your local Stop Smoking Service.
Put the money you are saving away. Perhaps use a jar or money tin to keep all the money you are saving from not smoking. If you used to smoke 20 cigarettes a day, you would have saved yourself up to £140 already!
Are you ready to quit smoking for good?
Quitters who make it to four weeks smoke-free are five times more likely to stay smoke-free for good.
A stop smoking treatment can increase your chances of quitting smoking.
For additional support take our free stop smoking assessment.