The health reasons for quitting smoking are well known, but giving up cigarettes and, most importantly, staying off them for good is not always easy. There are some simple changes you can make to help you quit.
Measure your success: Forget about quitting ‘forever’. Instead, work hard at adopting a realistic and do-able victory yardstick that celebrates freedom an hour, a challenge, and day at a time. If you insist on seeing success only in terms of quitting forever then on which day will you celebrate?
Change your drink: Fizzy drinks, alcohol, cola, tea and coffee all make cigarettes taste better. So when you’re out, drink more water and juice. Some people find that simply changing their drink (for example, switching from wine to a vodka and tomato juice), affects their need to reach for a cigarette.
Avoid skipping meals: When you smoke, each puff released stored fats and sugars into your bloodstream. This may have enabled you to skip meals without feeling wild blood sugar swing symptoms such as inability to concentrate or hunger related anxieties. Don’t add to your symptoms but instead learn to spread your normal daily calorie intake out more evenly over the entire day.
Get some quitting support: If friends or family members want to give up too, suggest to them that you give up together. Also, there is your local NHS stop-smoking services and the NHS Smoking Helpline, available on 0800 022 4332 (7am to 11pm daily).
Find your coping technique: During the course of your smoking habit, your mind has been conditioned to expect the arrival of nicotine at various times, places, or when encountering certain activities, people, events or emotions. The first step is identifying these crave triggers. When you encounter each crave trigger you should expect a short yet possibly powerful anxiety episode lasting up to three minutes. Don’t fear or hide from your triggers but confront and extinguish each of them.
For more information on how to quit smoking, check out www.nhs.uk/Livewell/smoking