The risks of smoking are well-documented, but, when it comes to stopping, it can be tricky. Being aware of the pitfalls and having a clear focus can help you with the process. Following these tried and tested tips will help you make the journey to a smoke-free life.
Avoid trigger points and places
As a smoker, you will have times, places, or even people that trigger the urge to smoke. When you’re trying to stop, it’s best to try and avoid as many of them as possible, keep yourself busy with your non-smoking friends so you won’t be tempted to light up.
Don’t be afraid to reach out for support
There is a vast range of online resources where you can find help and advice to stop smoking. The NHS Smokefree website is particularly good with a wide range of links, articles, tips and resources to help you quit – and stay off cigarettes for good.
Consider smoking substitutes
Nicotine Replacement Therapy has a proven track record of reducing cravings while slowly weaning you off nicotine dependence; tablets like Champix and Zyban come highly rated by those who have quit.
Alternatively, you could consider trying the newest of smoking substitutes, e-cigarettes. While e-cigs aren’t completely without risk, most experts agree vaping is around 95% safer than traditional smoking. It’s also highly effective at helping people quit. The technology involved in vaping can appear quite technical, but new pre-built vaping kits greatly simplify the required. Check online for the best pod vape systems to get started with an all-in-one, pre-assembled device.
Make a list of reasons to quit
Most people have pretty clear reasons why they want to stop smoking – whether that be for health reasons, saving money, consideration for family and friends etc. Writing down the reasons you want to stop smoking can be a great way of visualising life without cigarettes and can be a constant reminder of why you’re doing it.
Put the money you save in a jar or dedicated bank account
Setting yourself a goal or a reward is a great way to incentivise the quitting process, but it’s even better if you put the money you’ve saved aside – either in a jar or a dedicated bank account – so you can see how much you’ve saved.
Start exercising more
Exercise gives you tangible evidence that your abstinence from smoking is making a difference in your health. When you quit, the health benefits start immediately. Even after 72 hours, you will notice breathing becomes easier.
Make a plan
Like most things in life, having a plan will help regulate your efforts and focus your mind – especially through the first few days of quitting. In particular, be mindful of your trigger points and try to avoid them as much as possible.
Think less in terms of loss, more about the gains
When stopping smoking, it’s easy to feel a sense of loss rather than appreciating the gains. Try to repurpose your thoughts, turning them from negatives into positives. Remind yourself of the benefits of quitting rather than the perceived drawbacks. The financial and health benefits should provide adequate encouragement.
Clean your house and dispose of smoking paraphernalia
There is a considerable temptation to hold onto smoking paraphernalia when you quit – ashtrays, lighters – even that “just in case”, emergency cigarette. For most people, the best way to quit is by making a clean break so be sure to clear your home of all smoking equipment and accessories (including that “emergency” cigarette). Cleaning your house is also a very good way to help you appreciate how much better a smoke-free home smells.
Use a tracking app
There are thousands of quit smoking apps available on both Android and Apple handsets. Most works around the same principles of the length of time stopped, money saved, and health benefits gained – with notifications for each to encourage you. Search the stores for the one that works best for you.
Don’t kid yourself that having just one cigarette is ok
One of the primary reasons people have problems stopping is the notion that it’s fine to have a sneaky cigarette, then stop. It might sound obvious but stopping smoking means just that. Quitting.
It’s easy to kid yourself into thinking it’ll be ok to have a sly smoke but, the truth is, even just one cigarette is enough to rekindle the cravings, making you want another. You need to be as firm and as resolute as possible on this point.
What to do if you relapse
Very few people manage to quit smoking on the first attempt. If you have a relapse, try not to be too hard on yourself. Instead, look at it impartially and spend time considering how, where, when and why you started again.
In almost all cases, something will have triggered you to have a cigarette, so note down the reason and make a conscious decision to avoid that situation next time around. Instead of seeing it as a failure, try to put a positive twist on it by considering it another lesson learned.
Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but the benefits of stopping soon outweigh the short-term cravings. Use the points above, take things one day at a time and stay focused on your ultimate goal of becoming a non-smoker. With a little bit of determination, you too will be living a smoke-free life.