13 great tips to help you quit smoking!
by Maura Matthews, Prevention Lead at Tenovus Cancer Care
1. Find Your Reason
To get motivated, you need a powerful, personal reason to quit. It may be to protect your family from secondhand smoke, lower your chance of getting lung cancer, heart disease, and other conditions, look and feel younger. Choose a reason that is strong enough to outweigh the urge to light up.
2. Prepare Before You Go 'Cold Turkey'
There’s more to it than just throwing your cigarettes out. Smoking is an addiction. The brain is hooked on nicotine. Without it, you’ll go through withdrawal. Line up support in advance. Ask your doctor about all the methods that will help, such as quit-smoking classes and apps, support, medication, and hypnosis. You’ll be ready for the day you choose to quit.
3. Consider Nicotine Replacement Therapy
When you stop smoking, nicotine withdrawal may give you headaches, affect your mood, or sap your energy. The craving for “just one drag” is tough. Nicotine replacement therapy can curb these urges. Studies show the right nicotine replacement products for you improve your chances of quitting.
4. Find out about tablets you can get from your GP
Medicines can curb cravings and may also make smoking less satisfying if you do pick up a cigarette. Other drugs can ease withdrawal symptoms such as depression or problems with concentration.
5. Lean On Your Loved Ones
Tell your friends, family, and other people you’re close to you’re trying to quit. They can encourage you to keep going, especially when you’re tempted to light up. You can also get behavioural support by talking to a smoking cessation expert/pharmacist or joining a group by accessing the free services offered in Wales.
6. Give Yourself a Break
One reason people smoke is they believe nicotine helps them relax. Once you quit you’ll need new ways to unwind. There are many options including exercise to blow off steam, tune in to your favourite music, connect with friends, treat yourself to a massage, or make time for a hobby. Try to avoid stressful situations during the first few weeks after stopping smoking.
7. Avoid Alcohol and Other Triggers
When you drink it’s harder to stick to your no-smoking goal. Try to limit alcohol when you first quit. Likewise, if you often smoke when you drink coffee, switch to tea for a few weeks. If you usually smoke after meals find something else to do instead, like brushing your teeth, taking a walk, texting a friend, or chewing gum.
8. Clean House
Once you’ve smoked your last cigarette remove all your ashtrays and lighters. Wash any clothes that smell of smoke and clean your carpets, curtains and upholstery. Use air fresheners to get rid of that familiar scent. If you smoked in your car clean it out, too. You don’t want to see or smell anything that reminds you of smoking.
9. Try and Try Again
Many people try several times before giving up cigarettes for good. If you light up don’t get discouraged. Instead think about what led to your relapse, such as your emotions or the setting you were in. Use it as an opportunity to step up your commitment to quitting. Once you’ve made the decision to try again set a “quit date” within the next month.
10. Get Moving
Being active can curb nicotine cravings and ease some withdrawal symptoms. When you crave a cigarette get up and do something. Most cravings last for about 20 minutes. Even moderate exercise helps such as walking the dog or gardening. The calories you burn will also ward off weight gain due to quitting.
11. Eat Fruits and Vegetables
Don’t try to diet while you give up cigarettes. Too much deprivation can easily backfire. Instead, keep things simple and try to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. These are good for your whole body.
12. Choose Your Reward
In addition to all the health benefits one of the perks of giving up cigarettes is all the money you will save. There are online calculators that figure out how much richer you will be. Reward yourself by spending part of it on something fun.
13. Remember Time Is on Your Side
As soon as you quit you start to get immediate health benefits. After only 20 minutes your heart rate goes back to normal. Within a day your blood’s carbon monoxide level also goes back to normal. In just 2-3 weeks circulation improves. Oxygenated blood is flowing around your body and helping to improve your health.In the long run you will also lower your chance of having a heart attack and getting lung cancer and other cancers.
Are you ready to take up the challenge and give up smoking for good? There are so many rewards to be gained.