When you’re trying to kick smoking, any little reason can give you an excuse to go rummaging for that last cigarette you had hidden at the bottom of your bag.
It’s not easy to kick that nicotine habit, even less so when you’re doing it cold with no chews or patches to help you. In this guide to quitting, we take a look at some of the psychology behind nicotine addiction and some of the tried and tested methods of giving up.
You don’t have to face the withdrawal alone so let us help with some support to kick the habit for good and rediscover a healthier, smoke-free you.
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This treatment is said to at least double the chances of helping you quit for good. How? By continuing to offer the nicotine or the chemical that makes tobacco so addictive, but without the other harmful effects that smoking tobacco can bring.
While nicotine replacements such as patches, gums or sprays can help with the withdrawal symptoms, you can concentrate on weaning yourself off your dependence on nicotine. Used on its own nicotine replacement is just half the story but coupled with support from your doctor or a clinic geared towards helping smokers quit, you should find all the tools you need.
This method still attracts some doubt from healthcare professionals who fear it’s simply replacing one addiction with another. However, what is true of vaping is that, like nicotine replacement therapy, you will get the chemical without the harmful presence of tobacco.
Vaping products can be found in the high street or online in shops such as Aspire eCig UK. You’ll find vaping products to suit every taste with e-liquid including fruit, cookies and vanilla flavours. These can be bought nicotine free or in many cases you can pay a few pounds more to have nicotine added.
While the jury’s still out on the long-term health effects of vaping, the NHS promotes them as a form of quitting therapy alongside support from your GP. They are not available on prescription, so private purchase is necessary.
If you’ve never considered this therapy before then it’s worth reading about before you dismiss it entirely, particularly as your GP may be able to refer you to a practitioner.
Some hypnotherapists believe it will only take two sessions to stop completely so if you do pay for treatment you might still be making a substantial saving compared to the amount you might spend on cigarettes.
In the initial sessions you are likely to talk about how and why you became a smoker before entering into the hypnotherapy part of the session where your practitioner begins helping you to think of yourself as a non-smoker and helps retrain your brain.
Help quitting by helping yourself and making your own, best plan. Start by looking at when you smoke during the day. Do you smoke as soon as you wake up or is your first cigarette taken with a cup of coffee over breakfast?
Look at when you smoke throughout the day. Are there set times when you either really crave a smoke or when you’re given the opportunity – a coffee break at work for example.
Outside work when are you most likely to smoke? Will it mainly be at home or out for dinner or drinks with friends?
One tip from healthcare professionals is to look at the other things you do or the drinks you consume or the food you eat when you’re smoking and change them up. For example, if you always associate a cup of coffee with smoking, then change up your morning coffee for something else, even for a little while. If red wine and a cigarette is your go-to way of unwinding, switch to a beer or G&T or just plain water or juice, just to break the habit. The same goes for food, particularly snacks that might trigger a craving.
You might also consider adding the money you would ordinarily spend on cigarettes into a glass jar that will encourage you with the amount you are saving.
While it’s great to have the support of your doctor and other medical sources, nothing will help you more than having friends and family fully on your side. It’s hard if you’re surrounded by people who still smoke so find non-smoking support if you can.
Have your support make you accountable and check in with you regularly on how you’re doing. Be truthful about any lapses and let them encourage you to greater success. Plan something fun to do with your friends with the money you’ve saved after, say, six months and have that in your mind to spur you on.
You might also want to have a goal in mind to reach that you can’t currently achieve because of smoking. For instance, if you find getting to the top of your stairs currently puffs you out then monitor your progress after three months and see if you find it easier. Have small rewards for each step of progress you make.
Smoking ranks up there among one of the most addictive activities in the world and for good reason. Those chemicals in the tobacco make it so hard just to put down. Thankfully though, with the onset of modern medicine, alternative therapies and replacement products, there are many more weapons in your armoury to help you quit for good.
If your own health and that of your family’s hasn’t been enough to quite see you through to quitting for good then think of the savings and consider any therapy you take on a major investment in your future. Don’t think of stopping smoking as giving up, you’re not losing out on anything except that hacking cough, heavy lungs and an empty wallet. Think instead of stopping as gaining everything. Make a list of everything that will improve in your life and use it to inspire you towards a smoke-free future.