Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to improve your health.
It will help you live longer – according to the NHS, half of all long-term smokers die early from smoking-related diseases, including heart disease, lung cancer and chronic bronchitis.
But knowing you should quit smoking and doing it successfully are two different things. And if you have smoked for a number of years it can be really hard to overcome the addiction and habit.
The good news is plenty of people stop smoking each year. Here is some of our advice on quitting smoking.
You may have tried to stop smoking before and not succeeded but you must remain positive. Tell people that you don’t smoke. Think about the benefits – you smell better and feel better.
You can also take inspiration from the success stories of people who have succeeded in stopping. There are plenty to be found on the NHS website.
Another good tip is to put away the money which you would have spent on cigarettes and use it to treat yourself.
The right food for the mood
For many people, the after-dinner cigarette is the most difficult to quit. But studies have found that some foods, including meat, make cigarettes more satisfying. Others, including cheese, fruit and vegetables, make cigarettes taste not so good.
You might also want to think about changing your routine after mealtimes. Washing the dishes straight away or moving to a room where you don’t smoke may help you get over the craving.
Think about drink
Alcohol, tea and coffee, and fizzy drinks have all been found to make cigarettes taste better, whereas water and juice don’t. So changing your drink when you are out may stop you wanting a cigarette.
If friends or family members want to quit smoking why not suggest that you give up together, so you can encourage and support each other? Why not join a local smoking cessation group in your area? You doctor should be able to put you in contact with a local group.
You can also call the NHS Smokefree Helpline on 0300 123 1044 open Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm, and Saturday to Sunday 11am to 4pm.
Keep your hands and mouth busy
Nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) such as patches, lozenges, gum and nasal sprays, can double your chances of success.
And if you like holding a cigarette, there are handheld products like the inhalator. There are also e-cigarettes.
Exercising can help reduce your cravings and be part of your all round approach to a healthier lifestyle. If you haven’t exercised for a while, start slowly with a five-minute walk or stretch and build up from there.
Make a list of reasons to quit
When you are craving a cigarette it may help to remind yourself why you made the decision to give up. Make a list of the reasons and read it when you need support.
Many smokers give up when they have children, so carrying a picture of your little ones around and looking at it when you want a cigarette can help.
If you would like help with stopping smoking, please contact the surgery and make an appointment with a doctor who will be able to offer advice and support.