Congratulations, you have just made a great decision for your health. You are going to become a non-smoker. Now, what can you do to increase your chances of success?
If you have ever tried to quit before, you know how hard it is. Smoking is not just a habit; it’s an addiction. In fact, it has been shown that quitting smoking is even harder than quitting cocaine. It’s normal for it to take several attempts before you are able to quit for good. It takes more than willpower alone. It also takes planning, support, coping skills and changes to your daily habits. Here are some steps you can take to increase your chances of success.
1. Don’t try to quit alone! Having a plan and support can boost your chances of quitting for good.
Adding counselling and smoking cessation products can double or even quadruple your chances of success in quitting. Ask your Pharmacist or Doctor to advise you about prescription and non-prescription medications that can help. Your Doctor can also counsel you and work with you to prepare a quit plan to help you deal with cravings. The support of family and friends is also critical to your success.
2. Prepare! Know what to expect and how you will deal with it.
As you plan to quit, it’s really important to think through and make a list about why you smoke and what your triggers are for smoking. When do cravings strike? Write down alternate plans for what you can do instead, so you know what to do when the urge strikes. Because the nicotine in cigarettes is a drug, you will not only have cravings, you will also have withdrawal effects. This is what makes quitting so difficult but the good news is that the symptoms do not last and you can reduce their effects:
- Headaches, nervousness and irritability – do relaxation exercises, listen to music or take a painkiller if the headache gets too bad. Drink lots of water to flush the nicotine from your body
- Trouble sleeping – The effects of caffeine on your body are changed when you quit smoking because it stays in your body longer. Try to reduce your caffeine intake and find ways to relax before bedtime –read a book, watch TV.
- Constipation - if you become irregular, eat more vegetables, fresh fruit and high fibre foods. Drink plenty of water.
- Cough – you may cough more after quitting. Your lungs are cleaning themselves out. If it becomes too bad, try a cough syrup or cough drops to soothe your throat
- Dizziness – stop and sit down for a moment; it should pass
- Changes in appetite – as you quit your ability to taste and smell food will improve. Instead of eating, go for a walk, call a friend or do some physical activity that will take your mind off eating.
3. Never give up! Fight to stay smoke free
If you slip and take a cigarette – don’t give up! Half of all new non-smokers start smoking again within 2 weeks of a quit attempt. It is just a slip. Go back to your list of reasons why you want to quit; review your list of coping skills and think about what you need to add to your list so it doesn’t happen again. Don’t lose sight of your goal. You’ve come this far already - keep going!
And, talk to your Doctor or Shoppers Drug Mart Pharmacist if you need further support. Medications can help and Life Brand has a great variety of Nicotine Replacement Gums, Patches and Lozenges to help you succeed.