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There’s no doubt that quitting smoking is a tough journey, but it can undoubtedly be a rewarding one, with multiple benefits for your long term health. It's not just about giving up nicotine, but also breaking a habit that's been developed over a long period of time. In this article, we’ll explore some great ways to help you quit smoking for good, from simple lifestyle changes to surrounding yourself with a strong support network. So if you’re ready to take that important step towards a healthier lifestyle, LiveWell Dorset is here to help.
Listed below are different strategies designed to help you ditch the cigarettes once and for all.
1. Make a plan
Having a clear, actionable plan can help you stay on track and overcome the challenges of quitting smoking, increasing your chances of success. Start by setting a quit date and informing friends and family about your decision to give up. Make a list of reasons why you want to stop and remind yourself of them when cravings hit. Recognise and reward yourself for milestones reached, like completing one week or one month of being smoke-free. You can find out more about making a quit plan in our article Your stop smoking plan in six steps.
One of the most effective ways to quit smoking is to identify situations or activities that trigger your urge to smoke, like social gatherings or stress. To prevent a relapse, make a plan for tackling these triggers, such as avoiding them altogether or finding alternative activities to do instead of smoking. For example, if you tend to smoke after a meal, chew some mint gum to freshen your breath and change the taste in your mouth, or head out for a stroll instead. By being aware of your triggers and knowing how to avoid them, you can increase your chances of successfully kicking the habit.
The NHS has some useful guidance on suitable aids and treatments that may assist you on your journey to a smoke-free life. This includes nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), which can help manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms during the quitting process. NRT options include gum, patches, lozenges and nasal spray that release nicotine slowly and help reduce uncomfortable withdrawal effects. Talk to your doctor about the best NRT options for you.
Quitting smoking can be easier with the support of others. Family and friends can provide crucial support by offering positive reinforcement and encouragement. They can help change habits and routines associated with smoking, reminding you of the benefits of quitting, and help you celebrate each smoke-free milestone you reach. A strong support network can play a big role in keeping you motivated and focused on quitting, making the transition easier and more successful. You might even find a fellow smoker keen to quit, enabling you to work as a team to tackle your quitting journey together.
Exercising can be an effective way of resisting and reducing cravings. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which are natural mood enhancers that can reduce stress and anxiety. This can help to decrease the desire to smoke, especially during times of stress or when cravings arise. Exercise can also serve as a distraction, allowing you to focus on physical activity instead of thinking about smoking. Additionally, regular physical activity can improve overall health and increase energy levels, making it easier to resist the temptation to smoke.?
Quitting smoking is a process, and it takes time to break the habit completely. If you slip up, don't be discouraged. Get back on track as soon as possible, and continue to use the strategies that have helped you so far. Stay committed to your goal and remember why you started the process in the first place.
Quitting smoking has both immediate and long term health benefits. Just one day after quitting, the risk of a heart attack decreases, and blood pressure drops to a healthier level. After a month, lung function improves, leading to decreased shortness of breath, coughing and increased energy, while a heightened sense of taste and smell may also be noticed. After one year, the risk of developing coronary heart disease is reduced by half and circulation improves. After ten years, the risk of developing lung cancer reduces significantly, along with the likelihood of developing other cancers such as mouth, throat and pancreatic cancer.?You may also find you sleep better and notice an improvement in the appearance of your skin…and your bank balance will be a lot healthier too!
You can find out more about the changes to your health after you ditch the cigarettes in our article What happens when you quit smoking.
Quitting smoking is a personal journey and the length of time it takes to quit can vary from person to person. Some people may be able to quit quickly and easily, while others might struggle for weeks or even months to overcome their nicotine addiction. It's important to be patient and kind to yourself during this process. It may take time to find the right approach, but with determination and the right support, quitting smoking is most certainly achievable, helping you on the path to a healthier, happier life.
Here at Livewell Dorset, we have helped people across the whole of Dorset to quit smoking and we’d love to help you too! If you’re at the start of your smoke-free journey, we'll be able to help you choose from a range of options including face-to-face support from your local pharmacy, a pack of nicotine gum and patches delivered directly to your door, a vape starter kit or – new for 2023 – an all-day session at an Allen Carr Easyway Stop Smoking seminar.
Our fantastic team of LiveWell Coaches will also work with you to identify your triggers and how you can overcome them, offering coaching sessions over the phone at a time that's convenient for you. We also have a range of resources available on our website such as our LiveWell Finder tool which helps to locate local smoking support groups in your area, or our Habit Hacker, designed to provide bespoke behaviour change techniques personalised to you.
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