Smoking is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK, claiming around 78,000 people yearly. It also increases your risk of developing more than 50 serious health conditions. For many people, it’s not easy to give up smoking and there are various treatments available.
If you are a smoker looking to give up the habit, why not try one of these tips provided by the NHS:
If you’ve tried to give up smoking before but not succeeded, don't be put off. Look back at the things your experience has taught you and focus more on how you’ll do it this time.
Make a plan to quit smoking.
Make a promise, set a date then stick to it. Try the "not a drag" rule. Whenever you find yourself in difficulty, say to yourself, "I won't even have a single drag", and stick to this until the cravings pass. Plan ahead to times where it might be difficult, a party, for instance, and know your actions and escape routes in advance.
Consider your diet.
Is your after-dinner cigarette your favourite? A US study revealed that some foods, including meat, make cigarettes more satisfying. Others, including cheese, fruit and vegetables, make cigarettes taste terrible. So swap your usual steak or burger for a veggie pizza instead. You may also want to change your routine at or after mealtimes.
Change your drink.
The same US study as above also looked at drinks. Fizzy drinks, alcohol, cola, tea and coffee all make cigarettes taste better. So when you're out, drink more water and juice.
Identify when you crave cigarettes.
A craving can last five minutes. Before you give up, make a list of five-minute strategies. For example, you could leave the party for a minute, dance or go to the bar.
Get some stop smoking support.
If friends or family members want to give up too, partner up with them for extra support.
A review of scientific studies has proved exercise, even a five-minute walk or stretch, cuts cravings and may help your brain produce anti-craving chemicals.
Make non-smoking friends.
When you're out, stick with the non-smokers.
Keep your hands and mouth busy. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can double your chances of success. There are a number of products available, such as patches, tablets, gum and many more. When you're out, try putting your drink in the hand that usually holds a cigarette, or drink from a straw to keep your mouth busy.
Make a list of reasons to quit.
Keep reminding yourself why you made the decision to give up. Make a list of the reasons and read it when you need support.
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