Want to stop smoking tobacco this year? The success rate for smokers trying to kick the habit hit a record high in 2017, but many people still find it hard to stop using tobacco.
YouGov research shows that ditching tobacco is a popular New Year’s Resolution, with 9% of Americans planning to give up in 2018.
To give yourself the best chance of stopping, you have to adopt certain tactics to help deal with cravings.
These are some of the most effective strategies that we’ve come across:
- Write down all the reasons why you want to stop using tobacco. Review this list whenever you think about smoking.
- Repeat this mantra: “Not a Single Puff”.
- Find a good distraction technique. Cravings only last for about five minutes, so pick something quick – like a game of Tetris.
- Chew gum.
- Write down your ‘triggers’. These are things that make you want to smoke – like drinking a cup of coffee or going to a party. Knowing your triggers and how to deal with them can help you manage cravings.
- Use e-cigarettes. There is growing evidence that e-cigarettes can help you stop using tobacco and more people are using the electronic devices to kick the habit.
- If you do use e-cigarettes to manage cravings, make sure you choose a vape juice with the right level of nicotine.
- Make a plan to chart your journey.
- Calculate how much you’ll save by not smoking and decide what you’ll spend the extra money on.
- Try hypnotherapy. Many former smokers swear it helped them stop using tobacco.
- If you don’t want to go to a hypnotist, there are some good hypnosis-style books that can help you stop.
- Avoid coffee. Caffeine can make you anxious and amplifies some of the problems associated with going cold turkey.
- Studies show that coffee, fizzy drinks and alcohol all make cigarettes taste better. Try switching to water or juice.
- Tell everyone you’re about to stop using tobacco.
- Use Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT) like patches, gum and inhalers to manage nicotine cravings. These can double your chances of success.
- Take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Remember that cravings pass quickly.
- Treat yourself. Nicotine rewards your body for smoking, but you can reward yourself in other ways with the money you save by not smoking tobacco.
- Download a smartphone app to monitor your progress.
- Eat healthy. A healthy diet can help boost your energy levels and avoid weight gain.
- Identify and deal with causes of stress. Stress causes a lot of smokers to reach for a cigarette.
- Do some exercise. A short walk or run can help cut cravings and remind you why you wanted to stop in the first place.
- Get support from your friends and family. Those who feel supported through the process are more likely to stop using tobacco.
- Join an online community. Chatting to people who are going through the same things as you can be a real motivator.
- Clean your car to get rid of that smoky smell.
- Throw away ashtrays, matches and unsmoked cigarettes. Don’t just hide them somewhere.
- Make yourself a survival kit.