A few years ago it was disputed by some that cigarettes posed a serious health risk; in light of a wealth of scientific research over the last few decades, this is no longer a tenable position. From the invention of cigarettes in the US the late 19th century, through to smoking’s peak in the UK during the 1940’s, smoking has been a very popular pastime in the western world. This trend is generally in the process of reversal, at least in the west.
But since health warnings began to be voiced in the 1960’s, smoking has declined to its present level in the UK, the lowest since records began in the 1940’s.
With the government’s “Stoptober” campaign, it has been well publicised that there are more options than ever for those looking to quit the habit. All the evidence shows that you are much more likely to stop smoking if you seek help than with willpower by yourself alone.
See below for our list of 9 top tips for people who want to quit, but just need that extra bit of help or motivation. Good luck!
- Think of how much money you’ll save – 20 cigs a day (a pack a day) = £9 a day = £63 a week = £250 a month = £3,000 a year.
Think about how else you could spend that money – a luxury all-inclusive holiday in the Caribbean? Or towards a new car? How about pay off some debts?
- Think of the health benefits – Once you quit, your sense of taste will return and you will enjoy food more; your breathing and general fitness will improve; the appearance of your skin and teeth will improve and your fertility will improve.
Doctors are agreed – stopping smoking is one of the best health choices you can make.
- Set yourself a goal – if you are struggling, say to yourself - I will try to quit by Xmas this year, and then cut down to that point when you will hopefully go smoke free. Setting goals always gives a challenge definition and purpose.
As the saying goes, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will do…
- Use the NHS “SmokeFree” service – you’re four times likely to quit with NHS help.. The service offers a combination of phone, online and face-to-face support, plus stop smoking medicines. Thousands have used the service successfully, could it work for you?
- Plan ahead – know your weak points in advance and plan appropriately. For example, if you have a party coming up, plan strategies to hang out with the non-smokers; plan to have a drink in your hand always to occupy your hands; have gum ready; tell a friend at the party if you are having cravings – a problem shared is a problem halved! (http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/smoking/Pages/Motivateyourself.aspx)
- Use the facilities! – Try gum, patches, books or hypnosis – hypnosis is not offered by the NHS, due to the lack of scientific basis for its use, but some people swear by it. There are a range of books out there (such as Paul Mckenna) that you can try. Try Amazon or your local bookshop.
- Try E cigarettes – These are increasingly being offered by the NHS and health professionals in order to be a “bridge” treatment between smoking and stopping, for those that are struggling to quit. Be wary of these though – the jury is still out on the science on this one.
- Make a list of reasons to quit – Whether you do it for your health, your wallet or your kids, find the motivations by writing a list of reasons to quit. Ask your family and friends to help you. Stick it on the fridge to remind you!
- Be strict with yourself – like those silly ads say, quitting smoking requires effort and willpower. There is help available, but you have to really want to quit in order to give up the habit completely, such is the pull of the drug at the heart of all this – nicotine.