HEALTHPLAN MAGAZINE

How To Quit Smoking Health Tips

Smoking is one of the worst things that you can inflict upon yourself, in actual fact it is one of the most stupid things. There may be some germ of reason for older people smoking, because back in the 1950s and 1960s the advertising of cigarettes was rife and there was little if no voice of objection or information about the health hazards. However in these more enlightened times the advertising of cigarettes and smoking is severely limited and there is plenty of information about its health hazards, not only printed on the cigarette cartons themselves, but through campaigns actively discouraging smoking that are run in the national press and on national TV.

However, young people are still being drawn into this unhealthy habit, sometimes following the example set by irresponsible parents, or through wanting to conform with their peers who have also succumbed to this unhealthy pastime. The problem of course is that once you are a confirmed smoker, trying to break the habit is extremely difficult, even for the most committed people. I know, because many years ago I used to smoke 40 strong, king-size cigarettes per day, and it took me several attempts to finally be able kick the habit for once and for all.

Just giving smoking up as a whim very rarely succeeds. There are too many temptations and opportunities, and a whim is just fleeting at best - once it has passed you’ll fall back into bad habits. No, the first thing you must do is to totally convince yourself that you will give it up - that you really do want to and that you are totally committed. If you allow yourself even a mere glimmer of the idea that you may not be able to follow your decision through, you will have defeated yourself before you even begin.

So, having made your irrefutable decision, the next stage is to set a date. Now on first hearing, this might sound a little crazy, rather like you are trying to put off the fateful day. However, in reality you are granting yourself the time to be able to steal yourself to begin, and to be 110% committed.

But don't make the mistake of keeping your ambition to yourself; the more people that know about the fact that you are trying to give up smoking, the better. You see, if only you are aware of your intent it's all too easy to convince yourself that you were never going to make it in the first place. However when all of your friends, work colleagues, and family know, there is then a certain amount of embarrassment in having to admit that you have failed. It acts as a sort of deterrent. But it's not just that. If your friends and colleagues are genuine, as is your family, they will want to help you to stop, and this help and support can be invaluable. So once you’ve decided on the date you are going to start to stop smoking, don't keep it a secret -  publicise it to the world at large!

There are many reasons for wanting to give up, not least of which of course is for your own health. But there are many other things to consider as well; for example the health and well-being of other family members you live with; the ruinous expense of smoking, and personal hygiene - it makes your breath smell foul, and your clothes too. There may be other reasons as well, and whatever these reasons are, it's always a good idea to jot them down and keep them handy so that when times get tough, and you feel yourself beginning to weaken, you can refer to them to remind yourself just why you're giving it up in the first place.

I have already intimated just how difficult giving up smoking can be, so you must prepare yourself for the battle. Be aware that there may be certain side effects; you may develop an irritable cough; you may acquire a taste for sweets; you may even put on weight; but all of these things are quite normal, and you’ll also find that they are usually only temporary.

The other thing you should be aware of is that there are certain situations where the temptations to smoke are more intense. I always found that I enjoy the cigarette after a meal which was a bit of a problem because I could hardly stop eating. However, I did manage to get over that one; but one that was even more difficult, was when I went out with friends socialising and drinking. So for the first three or four weeks it’s always a good idea to avoid placing yourself in these situations if you can. Remember, if you’ve told your friends of your intentions, they should understand and support you anyway.

There are organisations that can help, as well as nicotine substitutes that can be bought over the counter. There is nothing wrong with seeking the help of either. Whatever it takes to get you off the "evil weed" is well worth trying.

Lastly, it's very important to take things one step, or one day at a time. Remember that Rome wasn't built in a day, and when you are trying to give up smoking, you are building a new regime that will hopefully last you for the rest of your life, and a healthier life at that too.

You may also want to check out the help, advice and free quit kit offered at 

http://smokefree.nhs.uk/

http://www.quit.org.uk/

Images courtesy of Isabel Bloedwater and Fuzzcat on Flickr.