THE start of a new year is traditionally a time when many smokers decide to give up the habit. For some it will be the first time they embark on a quit attempt. For others, it will be the latest in a long line of quit attempts.
Whether you’re a first-time quitter, or someone who is determined to crack it this time round, you’ll probably be filled with trepidation about the journey you’re about to embark on. This is perfectly understandable. It’s not easy giving up an addiction like smoking and the thought of living without cigarettes fills many people with dread.
However, it’s important to remember that there are multiple benefits to giving up – benefits that far outweigh any negative side effects. And while the cravings and irritability you may experience are merely temporary, you will enjoy the positive benefits of giving up for the rest of your life.
There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to stopping smoking. Some people prefer using nicotine replacement therapy, whilst others benefit from behavioural support. What we do know however is that going ‘cold turkey’ and quitting using will power alone, are three times less likely to successfully quit compared to those who use a combination of nicotine replacement therapy and behavioural support to give up the habit.
It’s very important therefore to find out what support is available to help you to quit smoking. The best way to do that is to contact Help Me Quit, the free smoking cessation service that is available from NHS Wales by calling 0800 085 2219.
For those who have attempted to quit smoking before, it may be worth considering using a different method this time around and to think about avoiding the triggers that derailed your quit attempt last time.
Before embarking on your New Year quit smoking mission, it could beneficial to tell close family, friends and colleagues what you are about to do so they understand in advance why you may be feeling grumpy or avoiding certain social occasions. It’s particularly important to ask smokers not to light up around you.
Have a plan in advance for how to distract yourself once cravings start. Some people find exercise very helpful or mindful activities that focus the mind, such as cooking, gardening or completing a puzzle.
Most importantly, once you stub out what will hopefully be your last cigarette, you put away any smoking paraphernalia you have lying around your home, such as lighters, ash trays and packets of cigarettes. Anything left around could lead to temptation and it only takes one cigarette to break your resolve completely.
Lastly, we at ASH Wales want to wish you a huge good luck. And if you do manage to quit we’d love to hear your story. Get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org