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Quitting smoking

Breaking any habit is difficult, and success depends on determination, planning, and willpower. The benefits to health far outweigh the possible discomfort of a week or two, and the additional rewards of considerable financial savings should also keep you going when things get tough.

Many smokers are physically dependent on nicotine and so when they stop smoking the craving to have a cigarette continues and will take time to die down. Withdrawal symptoms are varied and can include mood swings, depression, restlessness, anxiety, difficulty in concentrating, and sweating.

Some people find that they put on a few pounds after they give up smoking. This is partly because they are no longer taking in nicotine (which stimulates the body’s metabolism) and because their appetite has increased. However, if you only nibble on healthy snacks, you’re unlikely to put on more than a few pounds which are not as bad for your health as continuing to smoke.

There are many different ways you can give up smoking: group sessions, individual medical care (through your GP), therapy, acupuncture and hypnotism, although the act of self will is probably the most popular method used.

Nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) such as Nicotinell and Nicorette don’t stop you from smoking but provide a much-reduced level of nicotine to help control the physical withdrawal symptoms. NRT supplies controlled levels of nicotine that allow you to gradually reduce your intake. NRTs are usually supplied as chewing gum, patches, or as a nasal spray available through your chemist. A prescription medicine available only from your GP, it helps reduce the urge to smoke, lessens symptoms of withdrawal and makes quitting more bearable.


What Happens When You Stop Smoking? | AsapSCIENCE | 2 Feb 2017 | 3m 28s

Ten-point plan

  1. Make a date to stop smoking and stick to it. Let others know and get as much support as you can. Maybe a friend might like to give up with you.
  2. Bin your ashtrays, lighters and fags.
  3. Drink plenty of fluids (not vodka) and keep a glass of water or juice close by.
  4. Get more active. Increased exercise helps clear the shit from your system.
  5. Expect withdrawal to be irritating. It’s a sign your body is recovering from the effects of tobacco. Irritability, urges to smoke, and poor concentration is common – don’t worry, they usually disappear after a couple of weeks.
  6. Change your routine, eg try to avoid the shop where you usually buy cigarettes.
  7. Bear in mind any drama in your life might get you reaching for just one fag to get you over it. How are you going to cope with that?
  8. Reward yourself. Use the money you are saving to buy something special.
  9. Be careful what you eat: snack on fruit, raw vegetables, sugar-free gum or sugar-free sweets, not fatty foods.
  10. Take one day at a time. Each day without a fag is good news for your health and your pocket, remember to celebrate your success. If this doesn’t work, don’t beat yourself up, you can always try again later.
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