Smoking is usually somewhere at the top of New Year’s resolutions. If you want to quit but don’t know if you can really break the habit this time, here are some tips to help:
It doesn’t matter that you’ve tried to quit smoking before and failed – this time is different. You have to stay positive and tell yourself that you are going to be successful this time. If you don’t believe in yourself, how will you stay motivated not to light up?
Make a contract with yourself
Treat it like a financial or business agreement for which there will be serious consequences if you don’t honour the agreement – your health and that of your family. Set a date for quitting and stick to it!
Nicotine replacement therapy (or NRT) can make you twice as likely to succeed in stopping smoking. You can use patches, tablets, lozenges, gum, nasal spray and an electronic cigarette – available from sites like www.sparks-ecigs.co.uk to help you beat the habit. If you like holding a cigarette, try using that hand for something else – like holding your drink, for example. If it’s the sucking you like, try drinking from a straw to keep your mouth busy.
You can also contact your surgery or local NHS stop smoking services (or call the NHS Smoking Helpline on 0300 123 1044) for help and support.
Change your diet and your habits
If lighting up after a meal is the norm for you, take a look at your diet. Some foods like red meat make cigarettes more satisfying. Have some cheese or fruit after meals – these have been found to make cigarettes taste terrible. So swap your usual steak or burger for a cheese and tomato pizza instead.
Fizzy drinks, alcohol, cola, tea and coffee have also been found to make cigarettes taste better.
If you’re used to having a fag at lunch and taking breaks during the day with colleagues, replace this habit with something else. Make a cuppa instead, have a fruit – go and have a chat with someone for five minutes…anything you can do to break the habit.
If you’re a social smoker, know that the combination of smoking and drinking heavily raises your risk of mouth cancer by 38 times. Think about a strategy to break out of the smoking habit – hit the dancefloor instead, for example. You may even have to consider finding non-smoking friends to go out with – this will at least reduce the pressure to smoke.
A review of scientific studies has proved that exercise (even a five-minute walk or stretch) cuts cravings and may help your brain to produce anti-craving chemicals.