Making resolutions in January for the upcoming year is common, but sadly so is breaking them. Quitting smoking is perhaps one of the easiest ones to break – all it takes is a stressful day back at work to feel the need for a nicotine hit.
That being said, with the right support (and the right mindset) it can be achieved.
Currently there is an estimated 10 million adults in the UK who smoke; this breaks down to around 22% of men and 17% of women.
Without quitting, nearly half of all smokers are killed from smoking-related causes. Smoking is also responsible for over a third of respiratory deaths and over a quarter of cancer deaths.
So why is it so hard to kick the habit? Smoking causes two forms of addiction – physical and psychological. The feeling you get when nicotine hits your system causes you to become addicted to the sensation physically and this leads to withdrawal when you quit. The habit also becomes part of your daily routine, making it an automatic response for certain situations. For many it is this psychological addiction that is the hardest hurdle to overcome.
Tips for quitting
Different quitting strategies work for different people. Some can use willpower alone and go cold turkey, others will need to utilise nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) and get professional support. For many, it is important to look at both the physical and psychological side of the addiction. Therefore NRTs like patches, gum or e-cigarettes used in conjunction with a therapy designed to tackle the psychological addiction, like hypnotherapy, is often a winning combination.
Here are some strategies you can put in place to ensure you quit for good:
- Choose a quit date – Having a specific date helps you stick to your plan. Ensure you get rid of any cigarettes, lighters etc. before the date and avoid going to your usual smoking haunts on that day (i.e. the pub, local coffee shop).
- Tell your friends – Telling your family and friends that you’re quitting will give you a sense of accountability, plus they won’t inadvertently tempt you by offering you a cigarette.
- Note when you crave cigarettes – Noticing when your cravings hit will help you to be better prepared for them.