Top tips to quit

Know why you want to stop

So you want to give up smoking, but do you know why? "Because it's bad for you" isn't good enough. To get motivated, you need a powerful, personal reason to quit:

  • maybe you want to protect your family from secondhand smoke
  • maybe the thought of lung cancer frightens you
  • you would like to look and feel younger.

Choose a reason that is strong enough to outweigh the urge to light up.

Consider nicotine replacement therapy

When you stop smoking, nicotine withdrawal may make you:

  • frustrated
  • depressed
  • restless
  • angry.

The craving may be overwhelming.

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can reduce these feelings. Studies suggest NRT such as:

  • inhalators
  • lozenges
  • patches

can help double your chances of stopping successfully when used with an intensive behavioural programme.

E-cigarettes can can also be used in conjuntion with nicotine replacement therapy and behavioural support. There are several different products available on the market. Please discuss this with your healthcare professional if you are considering e-cigarettes.

Don't go it alone

Tell your friends, family and work colleagues that you're trying to give up. Their encouragement could make all the difference. We provide extra support via our QUIT programme on our adult rehabilitation wards (The Fens, The Wolds, The Vales, Maple Lodge and Francis Willis Unit). One you Lincolnshire also offer a stop smoking service which can help with medication and support.

Combine behavioural therapy with nicotine-replacement products or medication to boost your chances of success.

Manage stress

One reason people smoke is that the nicotine helps them relax. Once you give up, you'll need another way to cope with stress.

Try getting regular massages, listening to relaxing music or learning yoga or tai chi. If possible, avoid stressful situations during the first few weeks after you stop smoking.

Avoid lighting up triggers

Certain activities may trigger your urge to smoke.

Alcohol is one of the most common triggers, so try to drink less when you first give up. If coffee is a trigger, change to tea for a few weeks. If you usually smoke after meals, find something else to do instead, like brushing your teeth or chewing gum.

Clean the house

Once you've smoked your last cigarette, throw away all your ashtrays and lighters. Wash any clothes that smell of smoke and clean your carpets, curtains and upholstery. Use air fresheners to help get rid of that familiar odour.

It is best not to see or smell anything that reminds you of smoking.

Try and try again

It's very common to have a relapse. Many smokers try several times before giving up cigarettes for good.

Examine the emotions and circumstances that lead to your relapse. Use this as an opportunity to reaffirm your commitment to stopping. Once you've made the decision to try again, put a stop smoking date in your diary within the next month.

Get moving

Physical activity can reduce nicotine cravings and ease some withdrawal symptoms. When you want to reach for a cigarette, put on your running shoes instead, or just run on the spot.

Even mild exercise is helpful, such as walking the dog or weeding the garden. The extra calories you burn will also ward off weight gain as you stop smoking.

Eat fruit & veg

Don't try to diet while giving up cigarettes. Too much deprivation is bound to backfire. Instead, focus on eating more fruit, vegetables and low fat dairy products. A US study suggests that these foods make cigarettes taste terrible. This helps you fight your cravings while providing disease-fighting nutrients.

Choose your reward

In addition to the tremendous health benefits, one of the perks of giving up cigarettes is all the money you will save. Reward yourself by spending part of it on something that's fun.

Do it for your health

There's more than the financial reward to consider. Cancer Research UK says smoking kills five times more people than road accidents, overdoses, murder, suicide and HIV together.

Stopping smoking has immediate health benefits:

  • After only 20 minutes it lowers your blood pressure and reduces your pulse.
  • Within eight hours, oxygen and carbon monoxide levels in your blood return to normal.
  • After two days your sense of taste and smell start to return.
  • Long-term benefits include reduced risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and other cancers.

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