Since it’s World No Tobacco Day on Tuesday, 31 May 2016, we have come up with a short guide to help you come to terms with breaking the habit and starting your journey to living a healthier and tobacco-free life!
Box A Day, Or More Of A Social Smoker?
First things first, a smoker is a smoker. Period. But the amount of smokes you have a day will determine how bad your smoking habit actually is. So, take a moment and think about how much you smoke on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis in order to determine what type of smoker you are. Do you smoke a pack a day? Do you only light one up when you are dealing with stressful situations? Or do you just have one every now and then while out socialising and having drinks with friends? Once you know to what level your smoking habit is, you can consider which quitting method will suit you.
Choose Your Quitting Method
There are many different ways that can help you quit smoking. You can either go cold turkey which is done without any aids such as medication or therapy, you can ween yourself off the habit by cutting down on how many you smoke a day until you finally can go without, or you can go all out on medication such as Champex which will help reduce your urge to light one up. Depending on how long you have been a smoker and how much you smoke will determine which method will be best for you.
Quit Smoking With A START Plan
According to Lawrence Robinson and Melinda Smith’s article on how to quit smoking, you can start your smoking-free journey by instilling a START Plan. This plan includes five steps that can help you get through this tough time:
S – Set a quit date. Decide on a date within the next two weeks so that will be able to prepare yourself.
T – Tell family, friends, and colleagues. You will need all the support and encouragement you can get when it comes to quitting, so be sure to let them know you’re set on quitting and will need their help.
A – Anticipate challenges. Quitting isn’t easy, so be prepared to deal with cravings, nicotine withdrawals, and temptation when in a social setting with friends and family members who smoke.
R – Remove any form of tobacco item from your home, office, and car. This includes all cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays. Also clean anything and everything that smells of smoke.
T – Talk to your doctor about medication. Sometimes quitting cold turkey is harder than it seems, so speak to your doctor about medication that will help you manage your withdrawal symptoms. You can also opt for over-the-counter products such as nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges.
Break Your Smoking Routine
One of the hardest hurdles when it comes to quitting is breaking your smoking routine. After years of smoking, you have formed a routine of when you are likely to have a cigarette – either with your first cup of coffee in the morning, on the way to work, after every meal, during your lunch break, or socialising with friends over a couple of drinks. So, now it’s time to change this routine. You’re going to have to relearn how to have a cup of coffee, a drink, a meal, and deal with stress without having a cigarette. You can start by switching up your daily routine, and if this doesn’t help, then find a smoking substitute like chewing gum or keeping your mind busy.
Alternative Methods To Help You Quit
Okay, so if going cold turkey isn’t working out for you, don’t fret! There are a number of different means and ways to help you stop smoking if you need a little more assistance than you originally anticipated.
Smokers are addicted to nicotine, but are putting their health at risk by smoking tobacco. So, if you’re planning on quitting in the long run, but need an alternative to protect your health, then invest in an e-cigarette. The UK Royal College of Physicians has recently released a report recommending the use of electronic cigarettes as a “harm reduced smoking alternative to tobacco”. To find out more on where to get your hands on an e-cigarette and how they work, check out SA’s most trusted brand in the industry, Twisp, who offer both nicotine and nicotine-free variations.
To try curb the nicotine craving, you can try out a number of alternatives to smoking. You can purchase nicotine patches to paste onto your body, you can get nicotine gum, and nicotine lozenges to help control your urges. If these don’t seem to be doing the trick, then make an appointment with your doctor and discuss medications such as Champex to help you out.
If All Else Fails …
If these alternatives fail to help you kick the habit, then do a little research and read into acupuncture and hypnotherapy. Acupunctures can’t change your smoking habit, but it will help reduce your cravings, thus making it easier for you to not reach for a cigarette. And, if you are comfortable and open minded, why not try hypnosis?
Start Doing More Exercise And Eating Healthier
Owing to quitting smoking comes the weight gain! Now, this doesn’t have to be an issue. To keep yourself busy and to start living a healthier life, why not join a gym or do some home workouts to get active in order to keep those kilos off? Also, change up your eating habits to munching on healthier and wholesome meals and limit your snacking (snacking often when you quit smoking is normal, and is usually the culprit for weight gain). Not only will this lead to a better lifestyle, but it will also keep your mind off the habit of smoking. Plus, who wants to puff on one of those after a long run?
And, last but not least on your journey to living a smoke-free life is to practice willpower. A craving is said to last only five minutes, so if you can go those five minutes without a smoke, then that is a good starting block on strengthening your willpower. It may be difficult, but over time you will get the hang of curbing cravings, thus leading you to kicking the habit for good.
If you’re an ex-smoker and have any tips or advice on quitting for fellow smokers, leave a comment below!