It is never too late to give up smoking. Quitting smoking today improves your health and lowers your risk of developing heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and other smoking-related diseases.
Not only are there health benefits, but also financial ones; did you know that the average smoker in England spends £2,451 each year on their habit! With the cost-of-living crisis and other financial constraints on household budgets, quitting smoking would help reduce the financial burden.
Smoking is a notoriously difficult habit to break, but with help, advice, and support, you can make the positive change that will lead to a healthier you who is in control of your life, which is something to keep focused on when defeating smoking addiction.
Quitting smoking is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your health, so to keep you focused on why you want to quit, we'll go over some of the health risks. We all know it's bad for us, but having the risks in front of us in black and white is always worth revisiting, so here they are:
Smoking also damages your lungs leading to conditions such as:
People form conditioned signals, or "triggers," that explain why they smoke. Some people, for example, always smoke after a meal or when they are worried. These triggers cause behaviour habits that are difficult to break.
To help you to mentally prepare to give up smoking the use of CBT therapy (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is a type of talking therapy that teaches you how to manage harmful thinking; it involves learning to break the cycle of negative thinking. It offers you coping skills for dealing with various issues by concentrating on how your thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes affect your feelings and behaviours.
CBT has been shown to be particularly helpful in helping smokers quit, for example, by changing habits such as smoking after a meal and providing coping skills and techniques to control cravings.
It's a good idea to prepare your home for when you quit smoking in order to stay focused and to remove any temptation or 'triggers' in and around your home.
Withdrawal can be difficult, but looking at the symptoms as indicators that your body is recovering can help. Cravings, restlessness, difficulty concentrating or sleeping, irritability, anxiety, increased hunger, and weight gain are all common withdrawal symptoms.
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Quitting is challenging, and it is helpful to have some distraction strategies to take your mind off the craving till it passes. Here are some ideas to consider when you crave a cigarette:
This is not an exhaustive list, but choosing tasks that keep your hands busy and your mind focused on other things will help you until the craving passes.
It's a good idea not to try to quit through willpower alone, as this is the least effective method used by nearly half of all smokers in England. If a person uses a stop smoking medication recommended by a doctor, pharmacist, or other health expert, their chances of stopping are doubled.
Help is available in the form of:
It is a good idea to set a ‘quitting smoking’ date, make sure you tell your friends, family, and work colleagues so they can support you.
Remember that if you get help, you are three times more likely to quit smoking. Don't worry if you slip up and start smoking again; it's only a minor setback; the most important thing is to get back on track. You can do it!