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Quitting smoking is undoubtedly a challenging time, but with some help and support, you can make the process less of a struggle!
We share some top tips for quitting smoking for before and during your stop smoking journey, including advice on coping with cravings.
It’s important to pick a date at least a week away to allow you time to prepare any nicotine replacement options and support systems.
It can be beneficial to select a meaningful date or a time during a stop smoking campaign, such as VApril or Stoptober, when there will be more supportive resources available.
Did you know that less than 5% of people who go cold turkey are successful in their quit attempt? Quitting cold turkey is tough. Nicotine withdrawal becomes more extreme if you abruptly stop smoking, and this can make succumbing to cigarette cravings all the more tempting.
Using a nicotine replacement option such as a vape pod kit, gum or patches can help to relieve your nicotine cravings in a much safer way than smoking, as they do not contain the harmful chemicals that are in cigarettes.
In fact, vaping has been deemed 95% safer than smoking by Public Health England.
Out of the nicotine replacement options, vaping is by far the best. Studies have shown that vaping is three times more effective as a form of quitting smoking than patches and gum.
Stop smoking pamphlets can provide great information and ideas for those trying to quit smoking. Becoming more informed about the benefits of ditching cigarettes can be a motivating factor. These can also offer details of support groups you can seek advice from during your quitting journey.
Don’t keep anything hanging around that could tempt you to light up. Break and bin your cigarettes and throw out your lighters to reduce the risk of any slip-ups. Make sure to check any coat pockets and bags for hidden smokes!
Why do you want to quit? Is it for health reasons or for the benefit of your loved ones? Keep this in mind on the day you quit and the days that follow to help keep you on the right track.
Those that have support systems in place are more successful in quitting attempts than those that don’t.
Whether it’s a friend or family member or a supportive community online of like-minded people trying to quit together, it’s important to seek support when you need it.
Used to an after-dinner cigarette? It might help to switch up your mealtimes!
If you are a meat-eater, then it can be a good idea to switch to veggies and cheese instead for a while.
This is because a US study revealed that meat makes cigarettes taste more satisfying, while they taste terrible when following fruit, veg and cheese! The promise of a bad-tasting smoke can be a good deterrent.
When you drink alcohol, it becomes harder to stick to your smoke-free goals. You don’t have to stay sober forever, but it is best to limit your alcohol intake when you first quit to reduce the chance of a smoking slip up.
Smoking becomes a habit in your daily routine. Maybe you always have a cigarette with your morning coffee? If that’s the case, then try switching to tea or juice in the morning instead.
Identify when you reach for a cigarette, and find a new activity to replace this with. This could be simply swapping cigarettes for a vape, or could involve going for a walk or chewing gum.
Smoking offers a relaxing feeling for a short period afterwards, which is one of the reasons that quitting can be so challenging. It is important to find a new way to relax and destress.
Some find acupuncture particularly helpful, although a simple bath or pamper moment can be just as beneficial.
Not only does this give you something to do to distract from not smoking, having a good spring clean is integral to being successful in quitting.
Cigarette smoke leaves behind a smell that lingers in soft furnishings and clothes. Smelling it may remind you of what you’re ‘missing’ and can trigger cravings.
Wash your clothes and clean soft furnishings to remove as much of the smoke smell as possible.
While being successful in quitting smoking is rewarding enough, it’s always nice to have a treat in mind to reward yourself for all of your hard work!
This can act as a motivator to keep you on track with your stop smoking efforts.
As stopping smoking helps you to save a lot of money that would ordinarily be going on cigarettes, many set up a savings fund for the cash they would have used. This can be a good incentive to keep up with quitting, and the money can be used to enjoy something nice as a reward!
One of the reasons we enjoy smoking is the benefits that come from increased inhalation. When you feel a craving, take a few deep breaths until they pass.
Occupy your hands and mouth with a healthy snack until the cravings pass. Carrot sticks are a great choice as they resemble the size and shape of a cigarette.
Chatting with a friend can be a good distraction, and they can offer you some great support to keep you on track.
If you can, doing a quick burst of exercise or going for a walk can be a great way of coping with cravings. Doing exercise can make you feel great and improve your mood, which may satisfy your body more than the need for a cigarette.
A sugar-free mint, gum or boiled sweet can offer your mouth a distraction from smoking, while offering you a refreshing feeling.
Cravings last an average of five minutes, so you only need to find something to distract you for a few moments. Ex-smokers say that the best distractions are those that involve your hands, like fidget spinners or puzzles.