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February 2, 2018Simple tips to help a smoker quit

Around 15% of the UK population are smokers – that’s 7.6 million people. Yet smoking is still a leading cause of preventable death, contributing to diseases including COPD, PAD, lung cancer, stroke and coronary heart disease. So if you’re a smoker and want to quit, what can you do?

Assess your habit
Most smokers underestimate the number of cigarettes they realistically smoke per week by rounding down to the nearest 10. Be honest with yourself and work out a true figure. Knowin g how much you are currently smoking will give you the ability to make achievable goals for yourself – working out how much money you spend on cigarettes can sometimes be incentive enough to want to quit.

Break the routine
Smoking is habitual, and most smokers have a ‘routine’ – maybe you smoke one cigarette when you wake up, have another mid-morning, two or three during lunch and so on… Think about your smoking pattern and try to find something else to do when you would usually smoke. Instead of having your normal after-dinner cigarette, try doing the washing up straight away, or going for a brisk walk. Instead of your usual morning cigarette, get into the habit of eating a piece of fruit or reading a newspaper.

Slow and steady vs cold turkey
Some smokers will find it easier to cut out cigarettes altogether, whereas some will find it better to cut down gradually – there is no universal method which will work for everyone. If you go for the slow and steady approach, you could try cutting out every other cigarette you would normally smoke. By doing this, you’re instantly halving the number of cigarettes you’d normally smoke. If you’d rather just stop immediately, don’t give up if you find yourself falling off the wagon. It’s normal to experience the occasional slip-up – just don’t beat yourself up about it.

Remind yourself of the benefits
Make a list of all the benefits you’ll enjoy when you quit smoking. Your lung capacity will improve by up to 10% within 9 months of quitting; you’ll lower your risk of developing serious diseases like lung cancer, COPD and PAD; you’ll be less likely to get gum disease and prematurely lose your teeth; your sense of smell and taste will improve… the list goes on! On top of all these health benefits, don’t forget about all the money you’ll save. On average, most people who quit smoking save around £250 per month!

If your cravings are too strong to bear, try an aid
There are hundreds of nicotine-replacement products on the market, ranging from lozenges to patches to inhalators. Although they may not be right for everyone, typically smokers who use a nicotine replacement for their cravings do tend to have a higher success rate than those who don’t.

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