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With just days to go before the start of 2019, the clock is ticking for smokers planning to give up this New Year.  We asked ex-smokers for their top tips on how to prepare for the big day.

Set a date

Decide on a date when you will quit smoking and mark it on your calendar.  January 1st is a popular choice, as the start of a new year is when many people decide to make a fresh start.  Alternatively there may be a milestone date coming up – such as a significant birthday or the anniversary of an important event in your life. Deciding on a date will be far more motivating that starting out with the vague intention of quitting in 2019.

Make it a team effort

Quitting smoking is a test of endurance that requires will power and support from those around you. You may think you can go it alone however in those dark moments when you’re craving a cigarette, you’ll need the support of loved ones to spur you on.  Telling them you’ve decided to quit smoking means they can be on hand to ensure you stay on track. And to give you a boost if you’re feeling low.

Record your reasons

The temptation to give in to cravings will be strong when you first give up smoking.  To combat those cravings and stay on the path to a smoke free life you will have to continuously remind yourself why you are giving up. Write down your reasons and carry the list in your pocket as a constant reminder. Improved health and a better bank balance are two of the top reasons to give up. Be specific and write down how much money you’ll save every month by quitting and the life threatening health conditions you could avoid by giving up.

Set goals

Motivation is key when it comes to quitting success.  Think of a way to reward yourself once you’ve finally kicked the habit. Saving up the money you’d normally spend on cigarettes to spend on a holiday or treat is a great way to celebrate your success.

Be NRT-ready

You won’t know what quit smoking method works best for you until you start trying. However it’s important to ensure you have a good supply of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products ready for when you give up.  There are some smokers who quit using will power alone, however research has shown that quitting using NRT is far more effective. See your doctor or pharmacist to find out more about what products are available and the one that best suits your lifestyle.  Have a supply ready and waiting for as soon as you’ve smoked your last cigarette.

Seek support

Luckily you don’t need to quit smoking alone. There is plenty of support out there and NHS Wales Help Me Quit advisors are on hand to help you find the support that suits you best – whether that’s group smoking cessation sessions or one to help from a local pharmacist.

If you want to stop smoking Help Me Quit is run by NHS Wales and will help you to find the stop smoking service that best suits you. Contact them on 0800 085 2219 or visit www.helpmequit.wales.

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