Perhaps you took up smoking in your teens to keep up with friends and became addicted, how ever many years down the line, you have come to the realization that each time you light up, you do so with the thought of what each puff is doing to your health.
But, now you may feel like you don’t have a choice and smoking is part of your everyday routine. Perhaps you have one on your way to work, one mid morning, a couple at lunch, several with an after work pint and so on. How do you break this routine and fight the addiction?
If you want to kick the habit, and you have to really want to quit, otherwise nothing you try is going to help, then here are six ways of breaking the habit:
1. Go ‘cold turkey’
A recent study by Annals of Internal Medicine has shown that the best way to quite smoking is to simply go ‘cold turkey’. But ‘just stopping’ sounds easier said than done, doesn’t it? However, volunteers who used this approach were 25% more likely to remain smoke-free half a year from the date that they give up than smokers who tried to gradually wean themselves off. The NHS advises setting a date and sticking to it, as well as sticking to the ‘not a drag’ rule, to help with this.
2. Nicotine replacements
You could try nicotine patches and replacement therapy, like nicotine gum or mouth spray – these services are free on the NHS and have been found to double your chances of success.
3. Swap your cigarette for an ecigarette
Over the last few year’s ecigarettes have become a very popular way to stop smoking. Evidence is still developing on how effective they actually are, but people have found them helpful for quitting. They enable you to inhale nicotine without most of the harmful effects of smoking.
In the year up to April 2015, two out of three people who used e-cigarettes in combination with the NHS stop smoking service quit smoking successfully.
This is a popular way for smokers to try and quit. This psychotherapy influences the subconscious to bring about positive changes. There is, however, no conclusive research to confirm or deny whether this is an effective aid to stop smoking, so it is not available as part of the NHS package.
5. NHS Smokefree support
The NHS provides Smoke free support, which can be received via an app, a Quit Kit, SMS and face-to-face guidance. You are four times more likely to quit successfully with their expert help and advice. They suggest using this service even if you are already using ecigarettes or medication – to increase your chances of success.
6. Speak to your GP
The NHS recommends seeing a GP and getting professional support and advice to give up smoking. They can discuss what, if any, methods you have tried so far and then they can advice you on your next steps – including the pros and cons of each.
Whichever method you choose, you need to make sure, that alongside it, you are helping yourself – perhaps you could make a list of all the reasons you should quit. Then keep reminding yourself of those reasons – maybe you have children, for example, and alongside preventing them from breathing in second hand smoke, you want to be a good example for them to look up to.
Remember the first few days are always going to be the hardest, but it will get easier after that and you will feel so much better for it in the long-run!