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Looking to quit smoking but wondering where to start? Quitting smoking isn’t an easy ride for anyone, but by following our top 10 tips to quit, you’ll learn how to resist any cravings.
Tobacco cravings can be incredibly strong and happen when your body misses its dose of nicotine. You may experience a sudden craving (there is often a trigger involved here, such as being in a pub or feeling stressed) or you might always feel the need to smoke weeks after quitting.
Triggers play a big part in tempting you to pick up a packet of cigarettes. For example, you might be used to smoking whilst having an alcoholic drink or after you’ve had your morning coffee. You’ll need to start switching up your routine by doing something different at times you’d normally smoke. For example, if you’re used to lighting up a cigarette after your coffee in the morning, why not go for a short walk? This could help you to clear your mind and it will also encourage you to be more active.
There are also situations that you should definitely try your best to avoid - such as standing in a smoking area. If you’re in an environment that makes smoking more tempting, try to remove yourself and go somewhere where you can think more clearly.
Not only does being active have an abundance of benefits (such as decreasing your risk of artery disease and lowering your blood pressure), it can be an effective coping mechanism for dealing with cigarette withdrawal. Exercise is particularly good for decreasing feelings of stress and anxiety. If you start to feel the urge to smoke, try getting up and doing some sort of exercise - this doesn’t have to be an intense workout (such as swimming or running), it can be something as simple as a short walk.
Learn ways you can motivate yourself to workout by reading our blog.
The idea of NRT is to give your body nicotine without the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes which can cause health issues such as cancer. Whilst NRT won’t give you the same satisfying feeling you get when you smoke a cigarette, it will help to relieve your cravings. You can find a range of different types of NRT, including:
Whilst there are many NRT options out there to choose from, you need to make sure you choose the solution that’s right for you. For example, some NRT methods will gradually release nicotine into the body (such as the patch). Others on the other hand are designed to manage intense cravings (such as the nasal spray) and will release the nicotine quicker.
To work out which NRT is best for managing your cravings, you can speak to your GP or a smoke-stop advisor. We’ll be happy to help talk you through your options here at LiveWell Dorset. Why not chat with us today?
Cravings can be intense, but try to remind yourself that these feelings will eventually pass. Avoid caving in and try to focus your attention on something else - whether that be completing a chore at home, talking to a friend or doing a quick workout. Resisting your cravings can be a real challenge, but once you get used to managing them, it will become easier.
Try to keep a diary of your journey to quit smoking. This will help you to keep track of how long you’ve managed to go without cigarettes. Even if you do give into your cravings and smoke, it’s important to write down how many cigarettes you’ve had. Perhaps this will help you to identify what times or situations you feel triggered to smoke are. It’s also a good idea to jot down your feelings. Ask yourself how you’re feeling each day and how you’re finding the process of quitting. This is a great way to look back on how you found quitting at the beginning of your journey compared to further down the line.
Everyone has their reasons for quitting, whether it be to improve their health or to prevent passive smoking which can have a negative impact on others. Identify your personal reasons for quitting and make a note of them. It could be a good idea to write these reasons down on sticky notes and display them somewhere you’ll see them each day or to keep a list in your wallet. Your reasons for quitting are what will really motivate you to push through and quit smoking for good.
An alternative to NRT is stop smoking medicines (such as Zyban) and are available on prescription. The key difference is that these do not contain nicotine but they can be effective in managing cravings. For example, Zyban works by affecting the area of your brain which is associated with rewards, helping to reduce withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety. It can also make the act of smoking less satisfying, thus, helping to reduce your craving for cigarettes.
If you think this is a smoke-stop method you’d be interested in, speak to your GP or a health adviser.
For many smokers, cigarettes help them to relieve feelings of stress and anxiety. If you can relate to this, try to learn new, healthy ways to relax yourself. Some ideas to get you started are:
You can read our blog, “Small steps to stress less” for more ideas on how to reduce daily feelings of stress.
Vaping involves a person inhaling vaporised nicotine through a small device known as a vape (these are also called e-cigarettes or e-cigs for short). Vaping is considered to be less harmful than smoking cigarettes and can be an effective way of managing cravings as you can control your nicotine intake. You can learn more about the benefits of vaping over smoking in our blog or find out how Carola found switching to vapes.
Last but not least, consider seeking support. You could let your family and friends know that you’re looking to give up smoking so that they’re aware and can help you as you tackle cravings - if they smoke too, you might even inspire them!
You can also reach out to a health adviser (such as those at LiveWell Dorset!) who will provide support on your journey to stopping smoking. Further to this, there are smoke-stop groups which you could join and online blogs which detail how others have found the process of quitting. By getting support, you can stay on track and get advice when you need it most.
Here at LiveWell Dorset, we have a friendly team of health advisers and coaches on hand to help those living in Dorset stop smoking. You can find out more about the services we offer by getting in touch with us today or you can register here.
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