Ways to help quit smoking
Stub out that habit for good
You’ve taken the first step - you’ve decided to stop smoking. Great move. No matter how long you've smoked for, quitting can help improve your health straight away. It’s a big challenge, but you can do it. And trust us. It’s so worth it.
Stoptober is the 28-day stop smoking challenge from Public Health England, which takes place throughout October. The campaign encourages and supports smokers across England towards quitting for good.
Smoking is one of the biggest killers in the UK, responsible for around 78,000 deaths a year. It’s also to blame for around seven out of every 10 cases of lung cancer and also causes cancer in other parts of the body, including the mouth, throat and bowel.
Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 nasty chemicals including poisonous gas carbon monoxide, arsenic which is found in rat poison and tar - the same stuff they pave roads with.
Despite the scary facts, we know it can be difficult to quit. So if you need help kicking the habit, look no further. We’ve got you covered. Read our tips for preparing to quit, advice for when the cravings hit and a bunch of surprising smoking facts that will keep you motivated along the way.
Commit to quit – no ifs, no butts
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Breaking the habit and quitting for good is easier if you have a plan in place to start you off on the right foot.
Find your why
Keep your focus and think about the reasons why you want to quit smoking. Ask yourself a few simple questions – what don’t I like about smoking? How is smoking affecting my health? What will happen to me and my family if I keep smoking? Jot down your reasons to remind yourself throughout your journey.
Slow and steady wins the race. Instead of picturing a lifetime without cigarettes, take it day by day and focus on the Stoptober challenge as your goal. Research shows that if you can break the habit and stop smoking for 28 days, you are five times more likely to stay smoke-free for good. One day at a time. You’ve got this.
Surround yourself with support
Family and friends can be a great help during your quitting journey. Maybe you know someone close to you who is thinking of stopping too? You could try quitting at the same time so you can support each other.
Expecting challenges along the way is an important part of getting ready to quit. You’re more likely to be successful if you have a plan in place ready for when they appear. Collect and get rid of all your lighters, ashtrays and leftover cigarettes from your home, car and workplace. Don't save anything for ‘just in case’. Bin it all to remove any temptation and start afresh. Make a list of situations you may find challenging and a plan on how you’re going to get through them.
Tips to help fight the urge to light up
Nobody said it was going to be a walk in the park. There will be difficult days and that’s OK. There are a few things you can try to help keep you on track and stay confident, motivated and focused.
Try nicotine replacement therapy
Sometimes willpower alone just isn’t enough. The nicotine found in cigarettes is what makes smoking addictive and causes withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) releases low levels of nicotine into the body without the cocktail of chemicals found in cigarettes. There are many different NRT options, including patches, gums and nasal sprays, available online and in store at Boots. If you’re finding yourself in the awkward 'don’t know what to do with my hands' phase, Boots Pharmaceuticals NicAssist 15mg Inhalator* could be worth a try. Your pharmacist or GP can help you decide which form of NRT to try if you're unsure.
Smoking can burn a serious hole in your pocket and breaking the habit can lead to a richer life in more ways than one. Use the money that would have been spent on cigarettes to treat yourself – you deserve it! Plan exciting things for you and your family to do or put it towards a cause close to your heart.
Learn from your mistakes
As you learn how to live cigarette free, you may be tempted to smoke. If you’ve had a cigarette, don’t be too hard on yourself. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Remember your reasons for quitting, focus on how well you’ve been doing and get yourself back on track.
Cravings are a normal part of quitting, but they can be hard to deal with. Try to understand what’s triggering your cravings and think about what you can do to distract yourself. They only tend to last five to 10 minutes. Chew gum instead of picking up a cigarette, call a friend, go for a walk or jog – keep yourself occupied. Each time you resist a craving, you're one step closer to quitting for good.
Boots Stop Smoking Online Clinic
Boots Stop Smoking Online Clinic is also available to help you stop smoking. It can give you access to prescription-only medicines, without a trip to your GP**. You’ll need to answer a few simple questions online to see if it’s suitable for you.
Did you know?
From the moment you stop smoking, your body starts its recovery process.
• After 20 minutes, your pulse rate returns to normal
• After 8 hours, nicotine levels in blood reduce by more than half and oxygen levels return to normal
• After 48 hours, carbon monoxide is removed from your body
• After 2-12 weeks, your circulation improves
• After 3-9 months, coughs, wheezing and breathing problems lessen
• After 1 year, your risk of heart disease is about half compared with a person who is still smoking
• After 10 years, your risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker
• After 15 years, your risk of heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked
• Your sex life could change for the better as men who quit may get better erections and women could have improved orgasms
Stopping smoking is the best thing you can do for your health and the health of those around you. The most important step is the first – so start your journey to a healthier, smoke-free you.
*These products are stop smoking aids which contain nicotine and require willpower, always read the label.
**Subject to availability and clinician approval. Charges apply.