If you feel tempted, think about anything except lighting a cigarette – a nice day out, a meal or a pleasant memory. The less you think about smoking the easier it will be to stay stopped.
Make a list of the reasons you want to stop smoking and put it somewhere you will see it. Keeping a record will help you get through those times when your resolve to stop weakens.
Overcoming problems on the way
It is common for smokers to get negative thoughts. Now is the time you’ll need your determination more than ever.
Think of yourself as a non-smoker not a deprived ex-smoker
If you’re using nicotine replacement products (NRT) you’ll find that you would still prefer cigarettes. However, once you stop smoking, you’ll find your sense of smell and taste improve so you’ll start to enjoy your food more. Don’t risk losing it all again with just one cigarette.
Willpower and control
Use your willpower and ask yourself, “How much do I really need this cigarette?” Remind yourself of all the reasons you decided to stop smoking in the first place. Do you really want to throw all your hard work away now that you’ve got this far?
Coping in a crisis
There will be moments when you feel like throwing it all in and reaching for a cigarette if you’ve stopped straight away. Perhaps a personal crisis such as an argument at home or pressure at work.
Your determination is the key to success
If you’re using NRT and feel that you’re not getting the most from it, speak to your Pharmacist, who will be able to advise you on how to use your NRT properly and if necessary recommend an alternative. Remember, that you must be determined to quit, if you want your NRT to work.
Avoid temptation and smoking triggers
Remember alcohol and coffee are usually strong triggers for smoking. Try to avoid alcohol if it weakens your willpower and limit tea and coffee to a few cups a day. Drink decaffeinated coffee, water or fruit juice instead.
Remove any temptation
Don’t be tempted by relaxed surroundings such as holidays or in the evening after work and risk ruining all your hard work with just one cigarette. Remember, the occasional cigarette will only make you crave more.
Keep yourself busy
Whenever you feel the urge to smoke take your mind off it by keeping active. Early evenings are often the most difficult time. You could decide to try a new hobby, decorate or exercise. Remember the craving will only last a couple of minutes, don’t give in!
Substitute something for a cigarette
If you’re in a social situation try carrying a non-alcoholic drink to keep your hands occupied. Chewing ordinary gum or sucking a hard boiled sweet can help you to resist that urge to smoke. Alternatively substitute these dangerous cigarettes with NRT
You don’t need to smoke to relax
Try new ways to relax and deal with stress such as deep breathing, taking regular breaks or light exercise. Try adding a few drops of relaxing lavender oil to your bath or put a few drops on to your pillow before you go to sleep.
Diet and Exercise
Get some exercise
Try going for a walk, run or swim (however gentle). Physical activity is not only a great way of dealing with stress but you’ll be getting fitter too.
Eat sensibly and stick to your normal diet
Cigarette cravings are often mistaken for hunger pangs. If you feel hungrier than usual or worry about putting on weight, avoid snacking on high calorie foods such as chocolate. Instead, keep plenty of fruit and vegetables handy. Remember that your pharmacist can offer some useful advice.
Reward yourself regularly
One of the really noticeable things about stopping smoking is you’ll have some extra money. Add it up and you could find it is equivalent to a reasonable pay rise. Use the money you would have normally spent on cigarettes to buy yourself a treat.
Remember, you’re not alone
Quit smoking help from family and friends is invaluable, and your Doctor or Pharmacist is always available for advice.
If at first you don’t succeed…
Relapses can happen, so don’t despair. Many ex-smokers usually try several times before being successful. Think of your relapse as a temporary set back, rather than a failure. Use the experience and learn from it so that next time you won’t be tempted again.
Shop online at www.sammccauleys.com and see in a Sam McCauley Chemists near you to find all products to help you stop smoking or for expert advice from our pharmacists.
This advice has been brought to you from our own Pharmacist Mark Sajda