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​How to Persist With Your Decision to Quit Smoking

10th May 2024

How to Persist With Your Decision to Quit Smoking

To persist by definition is to continue with a course of action, despite difficulty or opposition. And there is no shame in admitting that it can be difficult to give up cigarettes. After all, it’s packed with high amounts of nicotine, which is a highly addictive chemical, in addition to roughly a spoonful of sugar per cigarette. Deciding to give up smoking for good can be a monumental change in your life – for the better. But taking that bold step is just the beginning of the journey. There are going to be bumps along the way, but it is something achievable with a combination of willpower and persistence. The biggest challenge and opposition will be the mental strength from within.

Yes, there will also be external challenges from the government as one example. They have announced an increased tax on smoking, making the price of cigarettes even higher. But this is a good move made to deter those from spending excessively on a habit which can cause short-term illness and even known as the biggest preventable cause of death in the UK.

Below, we’re going to look at the challenges you may face, the obstacles that may trip you up and the best methods to keep going and not fall into a relapse.

Grandparents carrying child

What Happens When You Stop Smoking?

There is good news when you stop smoking. You’ll start to feel better both mentally and physically when you do so. And statistics show that if you can get past the first month, you’refive times more likely to permanently quit.

But not all quit attempts are successful, and often take more than one attempt. This is clear when you consider the addictive nature of cigarettes, and worries about putting on weight, the withdrawal symptoms following stopping tobacco or nicotine and even factors relating to stress.

You may fall off the bandwagon with the odd cigarette here or there, but that doesn’t mean you can’t persist following the initial hurdles and not carry on in your smoking cessation journey.

What to Do if You Relapse

If you relapse, don’t worry! It happens a high majority who try to give up smoking for the first time – especially if they have built a habit over many years and try to go cold turkey. It is just a small part of the journey, and there are ways to get through a relapse.

The key is to identify the triggers that are leading to a relapse, and to try stop them in their tracks before it happens again. While smoking even one cigarette following a relapse can send you down a winding spiral of emotions, leading to negative feelings or a sense of hopelessness in some cases, it can be fixed by starting again.

Most importantly, don’t give up and as they say, get back on the horse. The best thing you can do is throw the packet of cigarettes away, get back to positive feelings and set a new quit day to plan the best chance of success permanently.

Triggers such as social events, stress at work or unforeseen circumstances may be blocking you, causing a emotional trigger that can lead to a relapse. Try and put your mind on something else and remember that a dopamine hit from a cigarette is only temporary and causes a reverse effect, leading to anxiety and further stress!

Here are the key signs/reasons that may trigger a relapse to look out for:

  • Drinking alcohol
  • Social events with other smokers, particularly when in a social environment
  • Lack of rest or not enough sleep
  • Loneliness or isolation
  • Reducing exercise levels
  • Binge eating
  • Stressful situations in your life on a frequent basis
  • Emotional pity or anger
  • Overconfidence

If you can recognise the triggers listed above that often lead to you picking up a cigarette, do whatever you can to not fall into that pattern. For example, if you tend to pick up a cigarette on a social night out at a bar, limit the amount you drink, wear a nicotine patch, and avoid the outdoor smoking area. Little things like this can make all the difference.

Quote from customer Sarah P

Battling Withdrawal Symptoms?

Withdrawal symptoms from stopping smoking is a natural process – which should hopefully be over with quickly. Short term symptoms from nicotine withdrawal can include headaches, dizziness, mood swings, increased appetite or insomnia. When you suddenly stop smoking, you’re removing that dependency you previously had from cigarettes.

So, recognising and working on how to manage those withdrawal symptoms is a key part of the challenge.

While tobacco is the main dangerous substance found in cigarettes which can lead to death and long-term conditions, it’s nicotine which causes the withdrawal, due to its highly addictive nature. So, keeping those temptations at bay is of vital importance.

And the best way to do that when you suddenly stop smoking is to have a suitable alternative lined up. While it would be great to stop smoking and not have any nicotine system at all, it’s quite challenging to flush out and not crave.

Therefore, that’s where NRT’s like nicotine patches, nicotine gum or even vape kits can make a difference. They allow a smoker to gradually move away from smoking cigarettes while still getting that same nicotine rush.

What are the Emotional Effects of Giving Up Smoking?

It’s not only your body that will go through changes when you no longer smoke but it will have an impact on your mental state too. Yes, initially withdrawal symptoms could create emotions such as anger, anxiety, and even create a depressed mood. But the same can be said of giving up any addictive chemical or ingredient, such as caffeine in coffee or sugar in snacks.

Although it will feel like a bit of anemotional roller coaster, time will pass and hopefully the withdrawal symptoms too.

And when you get past those moments of struggle, difficulty and anxiety, you’ll feel all the better for it. In fact, the NHS states that you will even begin to change your mind set in a positive way; feeling ‘much calmer and more positive, and have a better quality of life, after giving up smoking.

Tips to Stop Smoking Naturally

  • Combine NRT’s alongside speaking with a doctor or mental health professional to combat any urges
  • Engage with something relaxing such as meditation, Yoga or Pilates as a wellbeing exercise
  • Enjoy a soak in a hot bathtub
  • Focus on your breathing exercises, with deep breaths through your nose and mouth to soothe your mind and body
  • Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake, especially before going to sleep to get a good night’s rest each evening. This will help your mind to unwind when it is most important
  • Use positive affirmation techniques and videos on YouTube to create a strong mindset and set yourself goals

Can Vaping Help?

If you’re an adult that wants to quit smoking today, a vape product can help you persist with your decision to quit smoking. It’s a like-for-like physical replacement that acts as a similar nicotine product, maintaining the habit of smoking but preventing the inhalation of combustible tobacco.

What you need to do is find the right vape kit that matches your previous smoking habits, testing to find the right preference. 

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