BY ANDREW MCDONALD
Among the most difficult of habits to quit, smoking is pretty high up there. The mere idea of it is daunting enough. Should it really be?
The truth is yes and no. If you’re a long-term smoker, you’re almost certainly addicted to smoking. However, since 1965 over 40% of those who smoke have quit. Furthermore, 1.3 million people around the world stop per year. This number might seem small compared to the billion people worldwide who do smoke but it means a huge amount of people do achieve their goal of binning tobacco.
A further consideration is that among those billion people, many, perhaps the majority, have no real intention of quitting. Some may say they’d like to but how many actually take action is a much lower number. Additionally, in that billion, there will be people who do smoke but aren’t habitual smokers. People who perhaps have a cigar at Christmas or puff on a shisha when they go on holiday. Technically, they’re smokers but it’s unlikely to be a problem for them.
Finally, with a good smoking cessation programme, 20-40% of quitters keep tobacco out of their lives permanently.
In short, whilst nobody would say quitting smoking is easy, it is possible.
By far the most important thing is that you find your reason for giving up smoking. It has to be your own reason. If all you have is other people wanting to, success isn’t impossible but it is going to be much harder. Spend time exploring what makes you want to quit, not the reasons other people give you.
Do your preparation before you quit! Make sure you have some kind of support in place in advance. Your GP is there to help you. Ask them about all the methods that will help which including quit-smoking classes and apps, nicotine patches and gum, medication and hypnosis which is a particularly powerful method of quitting. There are plenty of other methods too. Ask your friends who have already quit for ideas.
Whilst talking to your doctor you can ask about prescription pills. There are medicines which curb cravings and also ones which make smoking less enjoyable if you do light up. There are also medications which can help with withdrawal symptoms.
Make sure to lean on loved ones! People who love you and want you to enjoy good health are certain to support you in your desire to quit. Ask them for help. This is particularly the case if they have already successful quit themselves.
You should also take time to explore and pinpoint your triggers. For example, many people find drinking alcohol induces them to smoke. When you know what encourages you to light up, you can look at avoiding or limiting those activities.
With a good plan and a little willpower, you can and will quit smoking for good! It will be tough but millions have done it and so can you!