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Advice for Stopping Smoking

8th March 2017

Today is No Smoking Day and marks the start of our latest internal health and wellbeing campaign which focuses on smoking awareness.

No Smoking Day has been around since 1983, when it was known as "Quit for the Day". It is a day which aims to encourage smokers to get support when they want to stop smoking by promoting health and other benefits.

The campaign itself, like our internal one, is not a day for forcing smokers to stop, harrassing or picking on smokers, or ignoring those who have quit.

I am an ex-smoker, and I tried for years to stop before I finally did so; I am more than aware that it is no easy task to just stop. Actually I would say stopping is the easy part; the hardest part is staying stopped.

For our smoking awareness campaign, we are encouraging staff to share their experiences. Over the past few days I've been talking to people who still smoke, who have stopped smoking recently, and others, like me, who have been stopped for some time. We will be sharing these experiences and encouraging our ex-smokers to give support and advice to those who are looking to stop smoking, as well as to those who have already stopped who might still need the occasional few words of encouragement.

Here are some of the comments and advice I've gleaned so far:

  • People who don't smoke don't understand that it's not that easy. They should try giving up something that is part of their daily routine - could a non-smoker easily give up chocolate or their morning cup of coffee?!

  • The time to stop has to be right - if you're busy at home or stressed at work, the chances of successfully stopping long-term are unlikely to be high! 

  • You have to stop for yourself - one person stopped for her fiance, but it didn't last long (and neither did the relationship!)

  • Don't beat yourself up if you "fall off the wagon" - don't give up giving up, set a date and try again. 

  • Weight gain is a common side effect so instead of using food as a cigarette replacement, join a gym or a special interest group so you start a new hobby which will keep you occupied and stop you dwelling on what you're not doing.

  • Change your routine - most people identified there were key times of the day when they would have a cigarette. Use that time to do something different to avoid thinking about what you'd normally do at that time.

  • Get help and support - whether it's from friends, family members, the doctor or a local support group. 

  • Avoid counting the days that you're not smoking. From day 1 consider yourself as a non smoker - that way you're not putting unnecessary pressure on yourself.

  • If you really can't stop then try cutting down, switching to low tar or menthol, or try the e-cigarettes.

  • Don't fall into the trap that you could "just have one" - so many people explained that they had been tempted with "one" but because they'd purchased a packet, they smoked the rest of them and that was it they were hooked again.

It has been interesting to hear about everyone's experience of stopping smoking - in many cases there were common pieces of advice. All of the ex-smokers and those who had tried to stop previously, it was the best thing they'd ever done; with many wishing they had stopped sooner. Across this group of people, there was a real mixture of stopping methods. Interestingly not one person stopped "cold turkey". The most common method of stopping was through local GP surgeries. Other methods included switching to e-cigarettes, nicotine replacement patchs / gum / inhalators and hypnotherapy.

Well done to everyone who has successfully stopped smoking; and good luck to all those who are stopping or plan to stop.

"Nicotine addiction is like an itch. If you itch, it's nice to scratch it. But better to have no itch at all."
Dali Lama

By Karen Manning, Corporate Communications Coordinator

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