You want to quit cigarettes? What do you do? Whose advice do you take? What should you do? I remember all these things running through my head when I decided to give up and the multitude of sites, books and advice in this area is staggering, contradictory and, quite frankly, off-putting to the potential ex-smoker.
So I’ve decided to collate the best advice here.
What the experts say isn’t always true – trust yourself
The first piece of advice is this – don’t take everything you’ve heard on the subject as gospel truth. There are many reasons for this:
- Cigarette manufacturers are a hugely powerful lobbying force in north American and western European governments. It will not benefit them financially if you give up. So it is in their interests to obfuscate the anti-smoking message and downplay the harm that cigarettes can cause. They have been doing this for years and haven’t stopped now that the cat’s out of the bag and everybody knows that smoking’s bad.
- Pfizer is one of the largest companies in the world and they happen to manufacture most of the cigarette cessation aids (patches, gum). If you think that you can only give up smoking with one of their products, you may be right, but they have spent countless billions of dollars trying to persuade you that this is true.
- There is money to be made if you stay smoking; there is money to be made if you give up smoking. A lot of websites that claim to help you are actually poorly disguised feeder sites for certain products. Here, I recommend products but I also offer a free course in how to give up smoking by self-hypnosis that won’t cost you a penny!
“Pick a quit date”; “tell everybody about it”; “throw away your cigarettes”; “chew gum/wear patches” are just some of the pieces of advice that prove totally wrong for me!
What works for someone may not work for you. So, don’t worry, if you read that you’re going to have a terrible time giving up … it might not be true!
I’m not exaggerating: giving up smoking may well be the best thing you’ve ever done. It may lead to a new chapter in your live that you will look back on as one of the happiest periods of your life!
But you’re going to say goodbye to a habit – a part of your life – that’s been with you for a long time. So you’re going to have to replace it with something.
So, quickly, get a piece of paper out and write down 5 new habits/hobbies you can replace smoking with and try to do them all when you stop smoking. Here are some suggestions:
- Do more exercise (the best, best thing you can do!)
- Start creating more healthy and exotic recipes in the kitchen
- Read more books about … (insert subject that’s of interest to you)
- Look up some old friends you’ve been meaning to call
- Watch less TV
OK, the last one is more of a negative than a positive new habit. But it’s a good one!
Think about triggers
What sets you off wanting a cigarette? Drinking alcohol, going to bars, meeting certain people? Try to avoid these triggers for the first few months.
You can make positive suggestions to yourself whilst concentrating on your breathing. Try this. Similarly, if you get the urge to smoke, quietly take a moment to yourself to breath deeply and concentrate on the sensation of breathing, the feeling in your lungs, mouth, etc. It works, trust me!
Similar to the above, just a glass of water can be enough to stop cravings sometimes.
Remember the feeling the last time you had a smokers cough or cold
The next time you reach to take a cigarette out of the packet, remember the pain smoking has caused you.