Wednesday 14th March marks No Smoking Day 2018 and provides the ideal opportunity to kick your smoking habits for good.
For many people, the impact that smoking has on our overall health is a major concern and catalyst for quitting. The links between serious illnesses such as lung cancer, heart disease, strokes and many more, are fairly well-known. Did you also know that smoking is linked to a variety of oral health problems including bad breath, gum disease and tooth loss, tooth staining and, most seriously, mouth cancer?
Tips for quitting
If you’re thinking of quitting smoking, it’s likely that you’ll have individual reasons for doing so, whether they are for health, financial or overall wellbeing benefits. Whatever your reasons for quitting, you’re more likely to be successful if you put a simple plan in place:
1. Understanding your habit
Think back to when and why you starting smoking. Understanding why you started may help you to stop, as the original reason may not be part of your life now. Did you start as a social smoker, did you start to help cope with stress, or another reason?
2. Pick a date
Choosing a date to quit will help you to commit and get started. Try to choose a time you know will be manageable and stick to it; try not to push the date back when it approaches. Tell all your friends and family the date you’ve chosen. Keep busy and make plans to do something that you enjoy on that day (but not something that would normally tempt you to smoke, e.g. going to the pub), and ensure you’ve removed all reminders of smoking such as cigarettes, ashtrays, and lighters.
3. Support for quitting
Nicotine is very addictive and some people can find it difficult to quit smoking from willpower alone. Consider if you’d benefit from nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) such as nicotine gum, patches and inhalators. Many people also find local support groups or help from a health professional invaluable.
4. Manage your triggers
While NRT can help to manage cravings, it can also be helpful to avoid your personal triggers. These are usually habitual so it can help to make small changes to your routine. For example, if you usually have a cigarette after meals, find something to replace it such as having a cup of tea, a small piece of cheese (which is great for your oral health too!) or perhaps something physical such as a walk in the fresh air, starting the washing up or making a phone call.
5. Staying motivated
Find ways to remind yourself of why you’re giving up smoking. Some people find it useful to write down their top three reasons for quitting and sticking that note on the fridge or somewhere prominent. It’s also great to reward yourself as a reminder of how well you’re doing. Why not use the money you save from not buying cigarettes to buy yourself a weekly treat, such as a manicure, or save up over a few months and put the money towards a large reward such as a weekend break or luxury item?
For more support and information to help you give up smoking, visit https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree