May 31 marks World No Tobacco Day, which aims to raise awareness about the dangers of using tobacco. This year’s theme is ‘Commit to quit’, and if you’re a smoker, there’s no better time than today to quit smoking.
When you stop smoking, you’ll enjoy many immediate benefits to your health, finances and personal wellbeing. You’ll also reduce your risk of 16 cancers caused by tobacco. The results are worth it and there’s plenty of support available.
Ready to quit smoking? See our top five tips to help you.
1. Understand withdrawal symptoms
You may feel withdrawal symptoms from quitting smoking. They’re a sign that the nicotine is leaving your body, your body is healing, and you’re getting healthier.
Withdrawal symptoms typically last two weeks and will eventually pass. Here are ideas for dealing with common withdrawal symptoms.
Feeling restless, tense or angry
Do some relaxation exercises
Go for a walk, do something physical
Listen to music or have a bath
Having difficulty sleeping
Listen to music
Have a hot, milky drink
Exercise during the day
Go for a walk, do something physical
Do something nice for yourself
Reach out to friends or family
Constipation or diarrhoea
Drink 8-10 cups of water each day
Eat more fruit, vegetables and cereal
Having trouble concentrating
Break tasks into small chunks and do them one by one, with breaks in between
Quitting will test your willpower. Work out the reasons for quitting that are important to you and remind yourself of these to motivate you.
As soon as you stop smoking, your risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease goes down. You’ll feel healthier and have more energy, and you’ll breathe easier.
You will feel more in control.
If you have children, you can set a good example for them and reduce the chance that they will smoke.
The money you save by not smoking will add up.
3. Use Nicotine Replacement Therapy products that can help you quit smoking
Some people may choose to go ‘cold turkey’, but this may not suit everyone. Consider Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) which releases small doses of nicotine and reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings for cigarettes.
NRT products come in the form of patches, gum, lozenges, sprays and inhalers, and are available over the counter and by prescription.
4. Look after yourself while you are quitting
Look after your physical and emotional health. Get plenty of sleep, eat well and do some exercise.
Take one day at a time and give yourself rewards and encouragement. Plan an enjoyable activity for each day to give yourself something to look forward to doing.
Your mind is going to convince you that you need to smoke.
The way you think affects the way you feel and act. If you slip up, you might feel guilty and want to give up. If you slip up, remind yourself that it’s simply that and go back to your normal plan. Slipping up doesn’t make you a smoker again.
5. Get support
You’re not alone when you quit, as there are support services to help you break the habit.
Speak to your GP as they can chat to you about any of your worries about quitting smoking. They can advise on and prescribe medications to help you stop smoking. If you’re taking medication, your GP will also advise if they need adjusting when you stop smoking.
For free and confidential information and advice, call NSW Quitline on 13 4878 (13 QUIT). You can speak to a professional telephone advisor who will provide resources and support to help you quit. Calling Quitline doubles you chances of quitting.
You can also get a free Quit Kit from iCanQuit. It has resources with facts, ideas and tips to help you quit smoking. You can order a kit by post or download it online.
There are many approaches to quitting smoking. If you’re not sure which one suits you, speak to your GP. You may need to practise quitting several times before you give it up. Keep trying and don’t give up.