Anyone who has quit smoking will know that it is no easy feat. Most people stop and start several times before they finally can say they are a non-smoker. Much of it is down to will-power, something that can immediately go awry as things start to go wrong. Here are some of the best, tried and tested, ways to quit smoking.
Set your mind on it
Like anything, if you haven’t yet decided that you want to give it up, you are not going to go very far. Make a conscious decision. Write down all the reasons to quit smoking – your family’s views, your health, cash flow etc – and then decide on a date. Throw away everything that reminds you of smoking – obviously cigarettes, but also ashtrays, lighters, matches and anything else. Spring clean your home so that it no longer smells of smoke – decorate if you have the time and inclination.
Avoid mixing with friends who smoke
Many smokers have friends, colleagues and even family members who smoke too. Either persuade them to give up with you, or try to stay away from them as much as possible, particularly in the first month. If you are in the habit of going out to pubs and clubs and smoking, again, try to avoid this in at least the first month. Being with other people who smoke and constantly smelling tobacco is very likely to encourage you to have just one…and then another…
Alcohol inhibits your reactions and many people find that they smoke a lot more when under the influence of alcohol. Try to cut out alcohol as well as cigarettes, at least until you are confident that you can drink without wanting to smoke. If you really must drink, then try to do so at home where you don’t have the temptation of cadging a cigarette off someone else.
Find something to do with your hands
At first, you may find that you don’t know what to do with your hands. You are so used to holding a cigarette, that not doing so is a constant reminder that you have given up. Find something else to do with your hands. This could be writing or playing computer games, or maybe knitting or gardening – just don’t sit and watch television or listen to music without having something for your hands to do.
Chew gum/suck sweets
Again, you may find that the very act of not having a cigarette between your lips is a constant reminder that you are not smoking. You could try chewing gum, particularly Nicotine-imbibed gum such as Nicorette, or sucking sweets. The latter could do your teeth a lot of damage if continued long-term, but hopefully, you will be able to cut down as the urge to smoke grows less and less.
Seek advice from a doctor or pharmacy
If you have tried to give up in the past, and have been unsuccessful, it is worth contacting your local doctor or pharmacy for their advice. Many areas have self-help groups for quitting smoking, or they may have other ideas, such as electronic cigarettes, patches and gum. If you really want to quit smoking, then it is certainly worth finding out as much as you can about different ways to stop. The support from other people in your area may also be just the impetus you need to quit for good.
Write a journal
Make a note each day of your progress. Note how you have been feeling, what you have done to stave off the desire to smoke and anything else that comes to mind – perhaps the amount of money you have saved by not smoking, or any comments you have received. You are bound to have days when you really struggle or maybe even smoke – read back through the journal to remind yourself of how far you have come.
Don’t beat yourself up
When you do give in and have a cigarette – and you almost certainly will – don’t beat yourself up about it. Resolve to return to your smoke-free stint the next day and remind yourself of the progress you have made so far. Having a cigarette does not mean that you have returned to smoking full-time – unless you allow yourself to of course.
Try to be healthy
Giving up smoking, going on a diet and starting an exercise regime all at the same time may be a step too far. If you find eating a cream bun takes your mind off smoking, then go for it. However, if possible, try to stick to a healthy diet and take some exercise – the high from exercise in particular will make you less willing to clog up your body with food that is not good for you.
The chances are that, if you want to give up smoking, you will end up using several of the methods above. It may also take several attempts before you can finally say you are no longer a smoker. Just be persistent, don’t be too hard on yourself and you will eventually get there. Many people have, including myself.