If you are wondering how on earth you are ever going to quit smoking, don’t worry… you are definitely not alone. Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, one million UK adults have ditched the cigarettes, and if they can do it then so can you! There are over 7.4 million smokers in the UK, who are not only increasing their risk of developing serious health conditions, but are also putting themselves at a much higher risk of Covid-19 complications. If you are a smoker, now is the time to quit. Each year, more than half a million hospital appointments are attributable to the effects of smoking. So if you are looking to kick your smoking habit, there is no better time to start that in March, which hosts the National No Smoking Day!
There are small changes you can make to your daily life that will help you to resist the temptation to light up. We understand it can seem daunting to end your smoking habit, and it may seem like an overwhelming task, but remember that quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. In as little as 2 to 12 weeks after you give up smoking, your blood circulation will improve, which will make physical activity and exercise much easier. What’s more, you’ll give a boost to your immune system making it easier to fight off viruses and colds. Ready to face the challenge? Read our tips for quitting smoking for good below…
Pick an end date that you want to quit smoking, and on that day remove all cigarettes from your home. Create a “not even a drag” rule for when you have a craving or are out socialising, and stick to it. It’s important to keep reminding yourself why you are quitting and to put steps in place for helping yourself along the way.
Using Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) when you quit smoking doubles your chances of success. NRT comes in the form of patches, tablets, chewing gum, nasal spray and lozenges. The best treatment option for you will depend on your age, personal preferences, whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding and any health condition you may have. Speak to one of our GPs today to discuss which NRT will work the best for you.
You may be thinking ‘how do I stop tobacco cravings?’, remember it is normal to feel intense cravings during the quitting process. These cravings will always pass within 5 to 10 minutes, whether or not you light up a cigarette. As cravings pass quickly, try making a list of things you can do instead of reaching for a cigarette, this could be a 5 minute breathing exercise, a quick walk, phoning a friend or even doing some star jumps! Do whatever works to keep you from resisting the urge to smoke, no matter how silly it might seem. Every time you resist a craving, you’re one step closer to stopping tobacco use for good.
When life returns to normal following covid-19 and you are out and about socialising again, it may be harder to resist the urge to smoke. It is a great idea to put your drink in the hand that usually holds a cigarette, and focus your attention on drinking mindfully, you can use a straw to keep your mouth busy. Avoid situations where your willpower will be tested, such as in the smoking areas of bars and restaurants. Remember when a craving arises: the combination of smoking and drinking raises your risk of developing mouth cancer 38 times. If that stat doesn’t put you off, we don’t know what will!
If you have tried to quit smoking in the past and haven’t been successful, don’t let it put you off. Use what you have learnt from your previous experience and think about what you can do differently this time. Just think about all the people who have successfully quit smoking – there is nothing stopping you from being one of them!
Having a strong support system around you can make all the difference when it comes to quitting smoking. This can be in the form of a specialist quit smoking group; take a look where your nearest one is and get involved.
Whilst we are stuck at home with less to do, your cravings may seem harder to manage. Exercising is a great way to curb cravings and ease the nicotine withdrawal process. Grab your trainers and head for a run, dog walk or bike ride.
Keeping busy is a great tactic to curb cravings and distract yourself from smoking, so think of some new hobbies you would like to take up. Quitting smoking means you will be saving money, so why not spend your money on doing that you will enjoy instead? Looking for some ways to keep busy in lockdown? Take a read of these handy ideas.
One reason people smoke is because nicotine helps them to feel more relaxed. However, in the long run, non-smokers tend to be less stressed. Once you quit, you will need to find new ways to unwind in situations when you are feeling stressed. Mindfulness, yoga and meditation are healthy ways to do this. Take a look at our tips on reducing stress and anxiety.
9 months after quitting smoking your lung capacity will have increased by as much as 10%! Not only will you be improving your lungs, but your fertility, life expectancy, skin, teeth and health of your loved ones will all improve.
Book an online GP appointment today and discuss the best treatment options to help you quit smoking for good.