Today is National No Smoking Day, the perfect opportunity to try to stop smoking.
We’ve been helping people to stop smoking for over 20 years. We know quitting is hard. That’s why we’ve come up with our top 10 tried and tested tips from people who have been where you are right now…
Why do you want to quit smoking?
Make a list of all the reasons why you have decided to stop smoking. Is it for health benefits? Financial reasons? Perhaps you’re trying to be a good role model for your children or grandchildren?
Have this list close to hand and if cravings hit, read through it and remind yourself of why you have decided to quit.
Change your routine
Many people on our Quit Support forum found changing their routine really helped when they were trying to stop smoking. There may be some things you do where you automatically reach for a cigarette, such as having a cigarette with a cup of tea in the morning. Instead of having a cuppa, drink juice or water instead.
“I would always have a cigarette when I was on my break in work. Once I realised that, I could make a change. I stopped taking my cigarettes with me and took a banana or a yogurt instead. The evenings were hard. After dinner, I’d usually go outside for a smoke. Once I quit, I made sure I did something else with that time. I would go on my laptop and that’s where I found Quit Support. Once I’d finished eating, I’d log on and start chatting to people on there. It was my lifeline.”Leigh, Quit Support member
Avoid smoking environments
When you’re craving something, the worst thing is to be around what you’re trying to give up and often the temptation is just too much. If family and friends are still smoking, ask them not to smoke near you or offer you a cigarette. Or better still, encourage them to stop too.
It’s really important to keep your fluid levels up as this can help reduce cravings. It also gives you something to keep your hands busy. Orange juice is particularly good to drink because smoking can reduce your vitamin C levels.
Understand the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal
Everyone will respond differently to stopping smoking. Knowing about the possible side effects will allow you to identify them if you experience any.
Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal for smokers can include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Intense cravings for nicotine
Withdrawal symptoms will begin to lessen over time, your local pharmacy will be able to advise you on any nicotine replacement tools such as nicotine chewing gum or patches to assist you on your stop smoking journey.
If you would usually have a cigarette when walking to the bus or work, keep your mind occupied by listening to music or podcasts. There are some great motivational apps designed to encourage you on your stop smoking journey. Kwit and QuitNow! are available on iOs and Android, just download these from your App Store.
A little help from your friends
Make sure you tell your family and friends that you are trying to stop smoking and get them to support and encourage you. You can also find a whole host of new friends ready and eager to support you on our Quit Support forum, all of whom know exactly what you’re going through and maybe even going through it at the same time.
“I did it!! One year nicotine free! Never in a million years did I think I could be a non-smoker. I quit during one of the hardest time of my life yet here I am, all victorious and stuff. It was a looooooooong journey but worth it. Whether you are just beginning or starting over, YOU CAN DO THIS! No matter how many times you may have to reset, keep pressing towards the mark.”TeeTam, Quit Support member
Stop smoking services
Our Quit Support online forum provides support to over 13,000 users. Some members have just started on their stop smoking journey, while others have stopped for months. It is a non-judgemental safe space for users to share their thoughts, experiences and give tips and support to members.
There may also be some stop smoking groups local to you. You can also speak to your GP about quitting aids too.
Look at things from a different angle – “I am not giving something up – I am choosing not to do something.” You can do it. Remember that you are stronger than you think you are.
Work out how much money you will save and reward yourself with a little treat or put it towards something bigger like a holiday. With the average pack of cigarettes costing £10.76, you will notice a difference to your bank balance in no time.
“I’ve made it a month – no going back now! Keeping on with the breathing and meditation for sleep. It has got better and I am starting to feel healthier. I love the way I can smell everything and my chest isn’t tight.”SugarBlondie, Quit Support member
Take it one day at a time
Some days will be easier than others. If you are feeling frustrated or angry, channel this energy into something new. Take up a new hobby such as jogging, yoga, knitting, anything! If there is something you have had on your bucket list, let stopping smoking be your motivation to achieve your dream. Remember, you’ll have a lot more disposable income to make it happen too!
If you do start smoking again, try not to worry. You haven’t failed. It can take several attempts for people to be completely smoke free.
Focus on all the cigarettes you haven’t smoked in that time. You have improved your chances of stopping smoking for good next time!