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Tips for cutting out smoking this #Stoptober

Thursday, October 1st, 2020 | Blog

Each year, people across the UK take part in Stoptober in an effort to quit smoking, a habit that can cause serious health complications later in life. Campaigns of this type and general awareness of how bad smoking is have seen the rates of smokers decline rapidly in the past 10 years. In 2011, 19.8% of the population smoked, while in 2018 only 14.4% of people do, that’s 175,000 people who stopped smoking during that period!

There are still a lot of people smoking in the UK and we imagine there are probably quite a few looking to quit during Stoptober, which is why we’ve put together this list of helpful tips to help you on your journey.

Contact your GP

Get in touch with your GP who can point you towards local cessation services. This support is free to use and can be delivered remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. The NHS advises all quitting smokers to take advantage of the service as the tracking and support of a professional team will increase your chances of quitting.

Make a plan

The best thing you can do when dropping any habit is make a plan. Fortunately, Stoptober is basically a self-made plan with a simple goal and timeframe. You can also split the month into smaller milestones, such as trying to make it a week without smoking and then two weeks etc. etc. Having a plan and structure will give you something tangible to aim towards, rather than just aimlessly trying to stop and likely picking up the habit again not long after.

Buy healthy snacks

One of the toughest parts of quitting smoking is the compulsions that come with the habit. If you enjoy a cigarette after eating, your chemical dependency will kick into action and you’ll crave the nicotine in cigarettes. One way of beating those cravings is by snacking on healthy foods. Feeling the need to smoke? Eat an apple or a banana. This will help take your mind off the cravings and will be far better for your body, giving your body a dose of quercetin and tyrosine, which stimulate the production of dopamine - which is known as the happy chemical in your brain.

Find a reason to quit

Are you looking to save money? Aiming to live a healthier lifestyle? Whatever your reason, having one will significantly increase your chances of quitting smoking. Having a good reason will almost certainly help when trying to overcome the urge to smoke, so think carefully about why you want to quit.

Friends and Family

It’s likely that your friends and family have been badgering you for years to quit smoking, so this is now their chance to make that a reality. With socialising fairly restricted by current lockdown measures, your social circle of support might be limited. If you live on your own, keep in touch with your friends and family and regularly update them about your progress. Their positive reinforcement will keep you motivated moving forward.

If you live with friends or family, ask for their support. If you live with someone who smokes, ask them to smoke away from you and keep the cigarettes hidden. Having access to cigarettes is going to make it much harder to quit when you have cravings, so removing that possibility is going to help.

Time to clean | Keep busy | Change your habits

It might sound a little unusual but giving your living space a deep clean after you quit smoking really will help you. Smoking affects the way your home smells and as your body recovers, you will no doubt notice the smell. The last thing you want while giving up smoking is to be reminded of the smell and end up triggering a craving. You’ll want to clean every nook and cranny of your home to eliminate the smell of cigarettes, plus keeping busy cleaning and reorganising your living space may take your mind off the cravings. Also, to take your mind off cravings, you could also take up a new hobby or an exercise, something as simple as taking a walk/run amongst the now flourishing autumn colours of nature will not only help lift up your mood but help with general health. 

Avoid your Triggers

All habits have triggers. Minor acts or tasks we perform, certain emotions or moods and even the time of day can trigger the urge to light a cigarette. If you know what your triggers are, try to find a way to beat them. It could be a change to your day-today schedule, adapting your diet to remove foods you associate with smoking and cutting down on how much you drink. There are plenty of people who only smoke when they have had a few alcoholic drinks, so cutting down will help you resist the temptation.

Take advantage of stop-smoking support

There is loads of support available online and also an app to help those giving up cigarettes. A search on Google yields 768,000,000 results, which includes free materials from the NHS. With everyone in lockdown once again, it might seem like you are alone in your journey to stop smoking, but you aren’t. There are countless channels of support on the internet, so make sure you take full advantage of them!

Hopefully, these tips provide the info you need to get started this Stoptober. We’ve also put together a similar list for those people who are taking part in Sober for October, so please click the link below if you would like to find out more.

https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/quit-smoking/ and the apple and android app

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