Stub It Out This Stoptober
We all know smoking is NOT as glamorous as Olivia Newton John made it out to be. But the process of stopping smoking can be immensely difficult and a number of smokers struggle to quit on their first attempt. This is completely understandable. What’s important is not when you stop, but that you keep trying to reduce the number of cigarettes that you smoke each day, until you eventually stop smoking. Stoptober is designed to help you along that process by connecting smokers every October, so that everyone knows they are not alone. The Stoptober campaign also provides participants with an excellent range of free online resources designed to help you quit. If you haven’t taken the first steps on your journey towards a smoke-free life this Stoptober, we hope this blog helps you kick start your transition. Here are some of the most manageable ways to quit.
Nicotine patches were promoted as ideal stop-smoking aids for decades, as they released a small quantity of nicotine, one of the most addictive substances in cigarettes into users’ bloodstreams, while saving their bodies from the dozens of carcinogenic substances which find their homes in cigarettes. The concept behind the use of these patches was to provide those looking to cut down on smoking with a more comfortable experience than going cold turkey, which was therefore more likely to result in them quitting long-term. For a very long-time, these patches played a crucial role in helping people around the world to stop smoking. However over recent years, other stop-smoking aids have been developed which provide more realistic experiences of smoking while protecting those who use them from the risks carried by tobacco.
One of these developments is the advent of vaping, which gives you the sensation of smoking, while protecting you from the health risks described above. Although health risks are attached to vaping, these risks are infinitesimal compared to the risks posed to your health by smoking regular tobacco. As discussed in our Vaping Vs Smoking blog in August this does not make vaping healthy, nor does it make e-cigs convenient long-term replacements for cigarettes. Ideally, people would neither smoke nor vape.
That being said however, vaping can act as a crucial stop-smoking aid in the short-term and can provide far more effective assistance to smokers than going cold turkey or using nicotine patches.
Hypnotherapy is increasing in popularity as a stop-smoking aid. Here a trained therapist will coach individuals so that whenever they go near tobacco, they immediately envision negative thoughts and feelings, making them want to do anything but purchase a packet of cigarettes. Such sensations can include the development of a disgust of tobacco’s smell. Additionally, these sensations could include a reoccurring, persistent parched feeling of extreme thirst, whenever an individual looks at a packet of cigarettes. The concept behind this hypnotherapy is to overcome a smokers’ will to smoke, by issuing them with deterrents in the form of these unpleasant sensations. Many adverts campaigning against smoking carry slogans such as ‘Stopping Smoking Requires Willpower.’
Hypnotherapy provides support when understandably, an individual’s willpower may fade in a difficult situation posed by giving up something which may have been a part of their lifestyle for many years. However, it is important to ensure that your therapist is well qualified and offers you hypnotherapy only after other treatments have been exhausted. There have been instances of so-called therapists charging patients huge sums of money, to sit on a settee and have a chat about smoking, which does them no good in the long-run and does even less for their efforts to quit. According to The Huffington Post, ‘Hypnotherapy remains a profession which is highly unregulated with no mandatory qualification structure.” When you sit in the chair, you never quite know who you may be talking to That being said, experienced therapists who have undergone training from distinguished bodies such as the London College Of Clinical Hypnosis, can provide vital assistance to those seeking to stop smoking.
Make Small Changes To Your Lifestyle
Reflect on when and where you like to smoke. Do you reach for a cigarette or roll-up after a particularly stressful meeting at work? When you are at a party or in a bar, do you find yourself wanting to smoke every 20 minutes or so? Try to find other things that you can do during these moments which will make it easier for you to quit. Perhaps, you could party with non-smoking friends, who sit far away from the bar’s smoking area. Alternatively, you could suggest to your smoking friends that you all try to smoke less. That way everyone will be sharing suffering from their cravings together. As smoking and drinking at the same time increases your risk of mouth cancer by 38 times, you will all be better off after avoiding smoking while on a night-out. Ultimately, the most important aspect of trying to quit is the maintenance of a positive mindset. You have to believe in yourself and trust your ability to kick smoking into the past and build a new, healthier life for yourself.
Stoptober gives you an excellent opportunity to start a long and eventful journey towards a smoke-free future. However you choose to quit, ensure that you share the ups and downs of the experience with those around you. This will definitely make the process easier. There is no perfect way to quit. However you choose to stop, keep trying until you eventually find the method that works best for you. The NHS backs Stoptober for a reason. Your health in the present, and your protection against serious illnesses in the future will both immeasurably increase if you stop smoking. You may be struggling to quit smoking while reading this blog. However tough your experience may be there is light at the end of the tunnel. If you keep going, eventually you will stop smoking and afterwards, you’ll never look back.
For help to quit, you can consult one of our GP’s below.