If you were planning on joining the challenge this year, you may also be aware that Stoptober is approaching worryingly fast! This means you might be wondering what the best approach is and what support is available to maximise your chances of completing the full 28 days.
On the face of it, it may be tempting to quit smoking without support. After all, it’s a simple approach. No quit smoking products or support groups necessary. All you need is a bit of willpower and a good grin and bear it attitude.
However, there is strong evidence that this is not be the most successful approach to quit smoking. As most smokers will know, the urge to smoke can be hard to resist. This means only 3-5% of smokers who quit without any support are able to stop smoking long-term1.
Instead, better results are often seen by those using stop smoking treatments and support from stop smoking services. To help you find the right option for you, we have broken down some of the tools and resources available to help you succeed this Stoptober.
Advice on quit smoking aids
A common approach to supporting a quit attempt is to use a quit smoking aid. These normally come in two forms:
- Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)
- Prescription quit smoking medicines
If you’re a regular smoker you are probably aware of NRT products. They come in many different formats, from nicotine patches, nicotine gum or nicotine lozenges, and are sold in pharmacies and some supermarkets. Meanwhile, prescription medicines are only available through a GP or an NHS stop smoking advisor.
There is strong evidence all these products are effective in helping you quit2. However, the sheer variety of these products means it can feel quite bewildering choosing the right product for you.
Luckily, the NHS provides a breakdown of the latest stop smoking treatments available to help you pick one that suits your lifestyle3.
Advice on how to control the cravings
Unfortunately, there is no way to get round the fact that a key part of beating smoking is beating the cravings. Even with the best planning and support you will also need willpower.
However, there are lots of tips you can use to manage the cravings when quitting smoking. These include everything from reducing the number of occasions you expose yourself to temptation, to giving yourself the best chance to beat the craving when it does hit.
Stop Smoking Services
The NHS offers local stop smoking services to help you quit smoking. Free, friendly and staffed by expert health professionals, a stop smoking service is a useful tool to improve your chance of success.
The NHS provided stop smoking services offer one-to-one appointments, and some areas even offer group and drop in sessions as well. Once you’ve started your quit attempt, you’ll be able to get weekly face-to-face or phone contact with your advisor for the first four weeks. Followed by less frequent contact for the next eight weeks.
You’ll never be forced to use stop smoking treatment, but your advisor may recommend it as the results are often better. In fact, using a combination of stop smoking treatment and receiving support from a stop smoking service can make you four times more likely to quit4.
Quit Smoking Community
Stopping smoking with others can be a great way to share your experience and give yourself that extra nudge. You might choose to quit with a friend or family member, or you might prefer to join a community of like-minded quitters.
A local stop smoking support group can be found through the NHS’s list of stop smoking services. Or, you can join an online community on social media. Whatever your preference, encouraging others and receiving encouragement can make the quit smoking journey feel a more rewarding process.
Smoking cost calculator
Smoking isn’t just bad for your health, it is bad for your wallet. The average smoker who quits, finds they save £128 per month from not smoking5. Over the course of a year that adds up to over £1500.
You can work out exactly how much you can save using a smoking cost calculator. Thinking about how you could spend the money saved from not smoking can also provide a little extra motivation when you are fighting those quitting cravings.
Quit smoking plan
An important part of quitting smoking can be having a plan4. If you take part in the Stoptober challenge you’ll have this part of the process taken care of for you.
Use the Personal Quit Plan to generate a personalised plan and find the right kind of support to help you quit smoking.
Advice on dealing with a relapse
A frustrating part of stopping smoking can be dealing with relapses. You might have been doing well, then all of a sudden you took a cigarette from a friend, or maybe bought a pack from the shops.
Whatever has happened, don’t let it undo your hard fought progress. Remember relapses are common and they don’t have to derail your quit attempt. If you do find yourself feeling like you are beginning to slip, there are practical steps you can take to help deal with a smoking relapse. You can even use it to spur on your quit attempt further!