However, you’re not alone, and in 2017 it was estimated that nearly 400,000 smokers kicked the habit, with a total of 1 million fewer smokers between the period of 2014 and 20171. That’s a lot of people who found better health and wellbeing simply by stubbing out that last cigarette.
For people who are still smoking and looking to quit, the initial decision, continued commitment, and day-to-day management of the process can be overwhelming. Particularly when you consider that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to quitting,
The good news, however, is that there are many different ways to quit smoking for good, and finding a method that works for you is easy. Here then, we look at some of the best ways to quit smoking so you can find an approach that is both comfortable for you and, ultimately, successful!
How to Quit Smoking — Going Cold Turkey
For some people it works, however for many more it doesn’t. In fact, it is estimated that only three in every hundred people2 manage to quit in this way, and it is certainly not considered the easiest way to quit smoking! However, if it works it works, and if you feel that you have the mental strength to battle through the cravings and deal with the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, then going cold turkey is as valid a way to quit as any other.
How to Quit Smoking — Using NRT
Nicotine replacement therapy is one of the best ways to quit smoking, providing you with a valuable tool in your fight against the worst cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It works by delivering the nicotine your body craves without the toxic chemicals contained within tobacco smoke. In essence, NRT helps you get through the most difficult first few days and weeks while simultaneously reinforcing your commitment to quitting.
It is also important to choose the right combination of NRT products tailored to your smoking habits. NRT products are usually found in the following:
- Patches – Good for slow release nicotine delivery throughout the day
- Gum – Good for fast acting nicotine delivery to deal with strong cravings
- Lozenges or Tablets – Good for fast acting nicotine delivery for heavy smokers
- Inhalators – Good for fast acting nicotine delivery as well as keeping your hands busy
- Nasal or Mouth Sprays – Good for fast acting nicotine delivery3
How to Quit Smoking — E-Cigarettes
Some people use e-cigarettes to help them quit, and in a similar way to NRT products, they can help to reduce the cravings caused by nicotine withdrawal. However, there is also the danger that you will become addicted to e-cigarettes, simply replacing one bad habit with another. Vaping is generally considered less harmful than smoking tobacco but with little research into their long-term effects4.
How to Quit Smoking — Prescription Alternatives
There are a variety of prescription medications currently on the market designed to help you quit smoking. Generally, these are considered most useful for people who have tried to stop before and failed, or for people with particularly heavy smoking habits.
Varenicline and Bupropion are two drugs that are currently in use, going by the names Champix and Zyban respectively. Varenicline works by blocking the rewarding and reinforcing effects of smoking on the brain, essentially making it unpleasant to smoke. Bupropion is thought to work in a similar way, although its mechanisms are less clear than with Varenicline.
Both have been shown to be effective ways to quit smoking, however, they may also cause side effects such as dry mouth, headaches, nausea, constipation and diarrhoea. They are also not considered suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women or people under the age of 18.
How to Quit Smoking – Holistic Alternatives
Holistic alternatives such as hypnotism and acupuncture have been effective for some smokers, and they can either be tried alone or combined with other methods such as NRT. However, while some people report that quitting has been easier using these methods, some research suggests that they are no more effective than placebos5.
Top Tips to Quit Smoking
As with all of the methods outlined here, it’s important to integrate other tools to help you quit. Naturally, having a reason and a strong motivation to do so are very important, and by combining this with the tips below, you’ll stand a much greater chance of quitting for good. Read on and try these tips on how to quit smoking easily.
Positive thinking must be your foundation. You can quit, and you should tell yourself as often as possible. Don’t feel defeated and don’t give up!
Make a Plan
Setting out a plan starting with your reasons for quitting is a great first tip to quit smoking. Read up on the stop smoking timeline and learn what you can expect as each day goes by. Schedule in rewards for when you reach a specific milestone and plan ahead for difficult situations such as parties and other events where your cravings might be stronger than usual.
Think About Your Diet
Your diet has a significant effect on your wellbeing, and this is also true when trying to quit smoking. Coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcohol may all lead to increased cravings, while heavy or greasy foods may also make a cigarette seem more satisfying. On the other side, salads, fresh fruit and vegetables may give you a fresher feeling—one that you wouldn’t want to ruin by smoking!
Get Some Help
Reaching out for support is a great tip to quit smoking and keep you on track, and whether it’s a professional or your family and friends, that extra push can really make a difference. Talk about how you feel, what your goals are, and what the future will look like when you’re finally smoke free.
Exercise can help relieve cravings and reinforce your new commitment to a healthier lifestyle.
Keep Your Hands Busy
If you find that you become restless, try keeping your hands busy with a puzzle or other activity such as drawing or writing. Additionally, inhalators can help recreate that subconscious need for a cigarette in your hand.
Reinforce Your Reasons for Quitting
Write down your motivations and reinforce your reasons for quitting using a list.
Whatever you decide is the best way to stop smoking you, it’s always worth speaking to your local pharmacist about your options or contacting the NHS stop smoking services for more advice, guidance and support.