We all know smoking is bad for our health but quitting isn’t as simple as it sounds. It takes commitment and a strong will – but it is possible. Up to 40% of smokers attempt to quit each year, so how do you make it count this time and succeed in quitting for good?
A discussion with a healthcare professional can help you to decide which is the best option for you – or you could take our free stop smoking assessment to see which way might work best.
When trying to quit, there will be some hurdles that you must overcome to be successful. Some of these will be easier than others, but here are some top tips for getting through the tough times:
- Get your family and friends to support your attempt. Tell them that you’re committed to this quit attempt and 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. 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
- Eat healthily. Smoking suppresses your appetite so once you stop smoking you may find you start to gain weight. Anticipate this and don’t let it become an issue. Be mindful of what you are eating and make sure you have healthy portion sizes. Wait 10 minutes before going back for more food as you may find you weren’t still hungry after all. Keep hydrated – you may just be thirsty and not actually need another 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 being in a situation when you wouldn’t usually smoke anyway, such as reading to your children or taking a shower
- Track your progress with an app that charts 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. 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. 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.
- Stop smoking treatment. Champix is a prescription-only medicine that doesn’t contain nicotine. The treatment is available through stop smoking services, prescribed by your doctor or via our online doctor service. It works by reducing your desire to smoke and preventing you from getting the same satisfaction from smoking as you did before taking it. However, treatment isn’t a quick and simple fix, quitting will still take willpower and dedication.
Check out our top tips to quitting smoking for more advice and good luck.