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If you are a former smoker, particularly one who smoked for many years, you’ll know just how hard it is to kick the habit. Perhaps you are someone who is in the process of trying to quit and you’re finding it particularly challenging. A lot of people struggle to give up entirely on their first attempt, with many relapsing a few times before quitting for good. In this article, we will explore triggers that might lead to a relapse and what you can do to avoid them in the future. We’ll also look at resources out there that can help you with your cessation journey.
While smoking is nowhere near as prevalent as it was ten or twenty years ago, there were still six million people in England during 2019 who were smokers according to Gov.uk, which equates to 13.9% of the adult population. It remains the top preventable cause of illness and premature death, and killed almost 75,000 people in England in 2019. As well as lung cancer, smoking causes a number of other conditions such as:
As well as this, smokers are exposing everyone around them to their secondhand smoke which is dangerous for everyone - particularly children who are especially vulnerable due to their developing immune systems.
If you have relapsed, you may be feeling deflated, demotivated and like you’ve let yourself down. You may also be thinking ‘it’s too hard / I can’t do this’, but the important thing to remember is that you’re still able to control what you do next and use the relapse to reaffirm your quest to quit for good. One relapse doesn’t have to lead to another. Take the following into consideration when starting you cessation again:
Remember there's no need to beat yourself up. A relapse is nothing more than a setback- it is not a sign of failure. Stay positive and believe you will be stronger next time because you recognise the triggers. To put it simply, don’t give up on giving up.
Recognising reasons for relapsing (also known as triggers) plays a huge part in preventing a future relapse. Some you may be able to foresee, but others will catch you by surprise and have you reaching for a cigarette. The key thing is to make yourself aware of these triggers wherever possible and take steps to avoid them. We’ve listed some of the common triggers below:
Ultimately, smoking is a habit-forming addiction and finding a way to break the habit while dealing with cravings and withdrawal symptoms is an ongoing process. For some, the cravings will eventually go away completely, but for others it may take years. With any addiction, it’s about finding the right support for you.
Smokers will all have their own individual triggers too which are unique to them. Once you have successfully identified your own triggers, you can begin to implement methods to deal with them.
If you are finding it difficult to stub out those cigarettes for good, the great news is there are many resources out there to help you on your journey to a smoke-free life. We have helped many people kick the habit here at LiveWell Dorset and we’re confident we can help you too! Take a look at the Stop Smoking section of our website which features plenty of useful tips, links and articles such as Stop smoking in 28 days and Want to quit? You can also try our Habit Hacker tool which has been designed by health and psychology experts to provide behaviour change techniques personalised to you.
If you live in Dorset, we have a specialist team of LiveWell coaches who will support you every step of the way, helping you identify your triggers and how you can overcome them. Register or contact us today to find out how we can help you.
The NHS has a number of resources available, such as the free NHS Stop Smoking app which will allow you to track your progress, see how much money you’re saving (we guarantee it will be a lot!) and offer daily support. You can also use the NHS Stop Smoking service finder to help you find local support services in your area.
If you need that little extra nudge, why not read about one of LiveWell Dorset’s success stories Hannah? She used to smoke fifteen to twenty roll-ups a day, and despite trying to quit many times, suffered a number of smoking relapses. Then she contacted us and, with the help and support of one of our fantastic coaches, was finally able to give up smoking for good.
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