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Ways to help you quit smoking long-term

  • May 24, 2023
  • Wellbeing

Women breaking cigarette to quit smoking

Smoking is a difficult habit to quit, but it is not impossible. In 2021, it was recorded that 52.7% of people in the UK who identified as a smoker aged 16 and above, wanted to quit. There are many strategies that can help you overcome nicotine addiction and quit smoking once and for all. In this blog, we will discuss some of the methods that can help you quit and go through some of the benefits of quitting for good.

What are the health risks of smoking?

Smoking is a leading cause for preventable deaths worldwide and is associated with a range of serious health risks. Below are just some of the health risks of smoking:

  • Many different types of cancer including stomach, throat, mouth, and kidneys
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Reproductive problems
  • Oral health problems
  • Vision problems
  • Diabetes complications
  • Decrease in bone density

Other side effects of smoking

There are a range of other side effects from smoking that aren’t so closely related to serious health issues. These include:

  • Premature ageing
  • Yellow teeth
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth loss
  • Yellow fingernails
  • Bad breath
  • Fatigue
  • Digestive problems
  • Reduction in sense of taste and smell

Strategies to stop smoking

There are many strategies you can adopt to quit smoking for good and reduce the risk of the many health risks associated with smoking. Below are some tips on how you can be healthier through living a smoke-free life.

Make a plan

One of the first steps you could take in your journey towards quitting, is to plan and set goals. You could start by setting small, achievable goals such as cutting down over a certain period as well as bigger goals including an official deadline for quitting to work towards.

You can also create a list of the reasons why you want to quit and identify triggers that make you smoke in order to help you overcome them. For example, if you find yourself smoking more when you are stressed, try and find different ways of coping with stress such as exercise or meditation.  

Use nicotine substitutes

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can help reduce the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking. There are many NRT products currently available on the market which include nicotine gum, patches, inhalators (such as e-cigarettes) and nasal sprays. These all provide a low dose of nicotine to help ease cravings and reduce the urge to smoke cigarettes.

Try prescribed medication

Prescription medication such as bupropion and varenicline can also help you quit smoking. These drugs work by reducing nicotine cravings and making smoking less enjoyable for you. You can talk to your GP about which medication is right for you and how to use it safely.

Join a support group

Joining a support group can provide you with the emotional support and motivation you need to quit smoking. Support groups are easily accessible through the NHS and can be found online or in-person. It is a form of therapy, and it is where a group of like-minded individuals that are on the same journey as you will share experiences, provide tips and advice, and encourage others who are going through the same process as you.

Exercise regularly

Exercising can help you reduce nicotine cravings and improve your mood. Find a physical activity that you enjoy, such as walking, jogging or cycling, and make it a part of your daily routine. Exercise can help you manage stress and anxiety, which are common triggers of wanting to smoke.

Avoid triggers

Avoiding triggers is an important part of quitting smoking. Identifying scenarios or people that make you want to smoke will ensure you can plan to avoid giving into the temptations. Techniques such as deep breathing and chewing gum may help with the cravings. You can also try avoiding certain situations at the beginning of your journey to avoid any setbacks that may hinder your progress.

Stay positive

Quitting smoking is a difficult process and it is normal to navigates through various obstacles. However, it is important to stay positive, remain focussed on your goals, celebrate milestones and reward yourself for your achievements. With enough time and determination, you can overcome nicotine addiction and live a smoke-free life.

Final thoughts

To conclude, quitting smoking is a journey that requires dedication and perseverance. By taking the first steps, setting goals and celebrating milestones, you can increase your chances of success. You should remind yourself that quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health and it is never too late to start your journey.