Quit smoking tips
It takes a lot of willpower! If you want to stop smoking, you need a clear, personal reason to kick the habit for good.
What are your reasons: to protect your loved ones from second-hand smoke, or maybe to reduce your risk of lung cancer, heart disease and cardiovascular problems?
Start by finding what motivates you to quit, what it is that can help you fight back the cravings.
Take control - 9 effective tips to quit smoking
1. Set a date for your last cigarette
Once you decide to commit, set a date for your last cigarette. Plan ahead. 📆
There are advantages to setting the date a little bit into the future. Between the day you commit to quit up to your last cigarette you can:
- Think about why you want to smoke. Where and when you want to smoke? Who you like to smoke with? What situations do you smoke in? It can be good to write these down.
- Similarly, hink about why you want to stop smoking and write these down also.
This will be a help once you have that last cigarette. It will make it easier for you to avoid or take control of situations that trigger your cravings. It’s about motivation.
2. Choose the method you will use to stop smoking
It can be very difficult to go the old-fashioned route and quit ‘cold turkey’. Over 95% of cold turkey attempts fail. Smoking is an addiction, and the brain perceives it as a need that is not being satisfied. Without cigarettes, your body has to go through a period of withdrawal.
Maybe you have a friend or relative who can be your ‘support’, who you can ring when things get especially tough. Seek out an ex-smoker and learn from their experience.
Talk with your doctor about the different methods for support. These may be stop smoking apps, counselling, over-the-counter medicines or maybe even hypnosis. There are a lot of options.
You should seek out the method that will give you the support you need and help you on the day you actually decide to quit smoking.
3. Use aids to stop smoking
Once you have stopped smoking, nicotine withdrawal can give you a headache, affect your mood and reduce your energy.
The craving for ‘just one more puff’ can be very strong.
Nicotine replacements (NRT products) can help control withdrawal symptoms. Studies show that nicotine replacement improves your chances of success, especially if you combine it with behaviorial changes.
4. Stop smoking together
Tell your friends, family and colleagues that you are trying to quit smoking. This will allow you to receive encouragement and draw support from those around you, especially when you are tempted to smoke. It is especially important to inform your ‘smoke buddies’ and ask them for support. It may require behavioural changes. 👩🏾🤝👩🏼
There are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) courses specifically for smokers who want to quit. Behaviour therapy is another way to get help to create effective strategies to stop smoking. In some cases, just a few sessions are enough.
5. Avoid triggers
Alcohol use can make it harder to stick to your goal. It is a good idea to avoid or limit your alcohol use.
Other triggers may be that cup of coffee you always sipped when you went out for a cigarette. It can help to switch to tea for a few weeks. Figure out what your triggers are and avoid them – don’t try to fight them. Avoid them as best you can or plan for them.
For example, uf you usually reach for a cigarette after meals, find another way to distract yourself:
- Brush your teeth
- Go for a walk
- Chat with a friend
- Chew gum
Clear away everything that reminds you of smoking. No lighters. No emergency packs hidden away. No ashtrays.
Wash all of your clothes - you don’t want to see or smell anything that reminds you of smoking.
7. Get your blood pumping
One way to reduce cigarette cravings is to stay physically active:
- Exercise 🤸♀️
- Take the dog for a walkPull up the weeds in the garden
It really helps! An added bonus is all the calories you will burn and getting some fresh air.
8. Drink water
Drink a lot of water! 💧
- Keeps your hands busy
- Helps relieve that annoying smokers cough
- May help you avoid grazing on snacks
Helps keep your digestion working at its best.
9. Try again
If you have a setback, don’t be too hard on yourself. Try again. Many ex-smokers experienced a number of setbacks before reaching their end goal.
Think about what it was that caused your setback, the situation and how you felt. Use that insight to strengthen your resolve to quit. 💪
Then set a new date for quitting, preferably within one month.