We all know smoking is bad for our health but quitting isn’t as simple as it sounds. Although it takes commitment and a strong will, it is possible. Up to 40% of smokers attempt to quit each year, but how do you make it count this time and stay ‘quit’ for good?
Don’t do it on your own! 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. In addition to talking about your quit attempt, you may also decide to use a form of stop smoking treatment.
Champix is a prescription-only medicine that does not contain nicotine. The treatment is available through stop smoking services, prescribed by your doctor or via our online doctor service.
Champix works by firstly reducing your desire to smoke and secondly, preventing you from getting the same satisfaction from smoking as you did before taking it. It works by mimicking the effects nicotine has on the body by interfering with the receptors in the brain that nicotine usually stimulates. Champix partly stimulates these receptors and therefore, if you do smoke while taking Champix, you won’t experience your normal satisfaction.
Champix has been used to help people quit smoking since 2006 and has produced some good results.
You should start taking the tablets a week or two before planning to quit and continue the course for 12 weeks. Some side effects are quite common and may include nausea, headaches and trouble sleeping. Nausea can be improved if the tablets are taken after a meal with a full glass of water. Sleep problems tend to be lessened if tablets are taken after the evening meal instead of straight before bed. Champix can affect your ability to operate machinery or drive and so, if this affects you, you may need to consider if this is appropriate for you and your job. Evidence suggests that Champix is the most effective medication for helping people stop smoking. However, it isn’t an easy fix, quitting will still take willpower and dedication.
A discussion with a healthcare professional can help you to decide which is the best option for you.
When trying to quit, there will be some hurdles that you must overcome to have a successful quit attempt. 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
- Smoking suppresses your appetite and once you stop smoking you may find you start to gain weight. If you expect this to happen to you, there are a number of things you can do. Be mindful of what you are eating and make sure you have healthy portion sizes. A great tip is to wait 10 minutes before going back for more food as you may find you weren’t still hungry after all. Keeping hydrated can help as you may just be thirsty and not actually need another snack after all
- Withdrawal symptoms are some of the hardest to crack and the strength in which you experience these shouldn’t be underestimated. 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
- There are plenty of apps available that will chart 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. You may decide to use the saved money to treat yourself to something you have always wanted or put it towards saving up for a holiday or a shopping spree