Research shows that 70% of smokers want to quit – so if you are considering it, you’re not alone. We know quitting smoking is a challenge, furthermore each smoker will have a different quit journey; some quitters will succeed on their first try; while others may attempt many times before they stay stopped for good. That’s why put together a list of tips to quit smoking.
If you’re thinking about quitting, or you’d like to help a friend or family member to do so, below are some tips that can help!
1. List the reasons why
Make a list of your reasons for stopping (maybe you want to run a marathon in the future or would like to save money for a holiday). Keep your list close at hand and read it as much as you can as your quit date approaches. These reasons can serve as a great tool to keep you motivated in your first few weeks and months of quitting.
2. Have support at hand
Quitting is far more than just throwing your cigarettes in the bin. Smoking is an addiction. The brain is hooked on nicotine. Without it, you will experience withdrawals. Therefore, it is crucial that you have support in place prior to your quit date. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about all the methods that will help, such as quit-smoking classes and support helplines. These supports will not only help you get ready to quit but will also assist you throughout the quitting process.
3. Set a quit date
Research has shown that most people who successfully quit smoking do so by stopping altogether and not by gradually cutting down. So pick your day to stop smoking and stick to it.
4. Change your routine
Smoking is often linked to certain times and situations such as the first smoke in the morning, drinking tea or alcohol. These are called your ‘triggers’. Replace these triggers with new activities that you don’t associate with smoking. For example, if you always had a cigarette with cups of tea switch to fruit juice instead.
5. Deal with cravings
Cravings occur often during the first few days after you quit. Cravings usually increase in intensity over a period of 3-5 minutes and then begin to ease off.
When tackling cravings, remember the 4 Ds
- Delay at least three minutes and the urge will pass
- Drink a glass of water or fruit juice (sip slowly)
- Distract yourself. Move away from the situation- talk to a friend, get out for a walk or read a book.
- Take a deep breath. Breathe slowly, deeply and continue to do so until you feel relaxed.
6. Increase physical activity
Being active can lessen nicotine cravings and will assist in easing some withdrawal symptoms. When you want to reach for a cigarette, put on your runners and go for a run instead. Even mild exercise will help you feel better, such as walking your dog or hoovering the house will help.
7. Reward yourself
Aside from all the health benefits, another advantage to quitting cigarettes is all the money you will save! If you smoke a 20 pack of cigarettes a day and stay stopped for a month you will save an average of 378 euros! There are online calculators that figure out how much richer you will be. Make sure to reward yourself by spending part of it on something enjoyable!
8. Watch what you eat
Don’t attempt to diet while you give up cigarettes. Too much food deprivation will leave you at risk of relapse. Planning ahead is key! Instead of stocking the cupboard full or chocolate bars and biscuits, choose to have fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains snacks at hand. These will ease your cravings and are good for your whole body.
9. Take one day at a time
It may take a little while to get adjusted to life without cigarettes. Remember, every day without a cigarette is good news for your health, your loved ones and your bank account.
As soon as you quit, you immediately experience a range of health benefits. After only 20 minutes, your heart rate goes back to normal. Within a day, your blood’s carbon monoxide level also falls back into place. In just two to three weeks, you will start to lower your odds of having a heart attack. In the long run, you will also lower your chance of getting lung cancer and other cancers!
10. If you relapse…
A hard day at the office, being around friends who smoke or having a social drink can make you slip. But all is not lost if this occurs. Remember many smokers relapse before they quit for good. When this happens it may be beneficial to return to your list of reasons as to why you stopped smoking in the first place and prepare to quit again.
As a workplace wellness company, we are always trying to encourage healthy habits so we hope you got something from this blog piece.
*This is not medical advice, please contact a medical professional if you think you need to seek further help.