Did you know that smoking is the number one cause of preventable illness and early death?
However, it’s NEVER too late to give up. As little as 20 minutes after you quit smoking, your blood vessels, lungs and heart will start to recover, and after 15 years your risk of a heart attack will be the same as someone who never smoked.
Follow our top 5 tips to help you make 2021 the year you quit.
1. Make it Official
Set a date and tell the people closest to you you’re quitting. That way, they can check in on you and keep you motivated and accountable, and help support you in the process. If a friend, family member or partner is also a smoker, ask them in advance not to smoke around you or offer you cigarettes if you’re worried they could tempt you – or better yet, suggest quitting together.
2. Review your Routine
Work out your smoking habits and be ready to change your routine to avoid the triggers and situations you smoke in.
Do you also have a cigarette in the morning, after dinner or during your lunch break? Do you always smoke when you’re with certain people? Note the times that you would usually reach for a cigarette and make a list of things that you could do instead to distract yourself if cravings strike, like taking a walk or jumping in the shower.
3. Watch your Savings Grow
As well as improving your health, one big added benefit to quitting is a little extra money in your pocket to treat yourself. Try saving the money you would have spent each week on cigarettes in a jar, so you can see it building up, and set a goal for what you’ll spend it on when you’ve saved enough - whether it’s a holiday, some new shoes or a new TV or games console. This will give you something to look forward to.
It can also help to treat yourself to small rewards along the way for every day or week you don’t smoke - like taking a hot bath, buying a new candle, or reading a fun magazine.
4. Get Support
You are four times more likely to quit successfully if you get professional help and use nicotine replacements. As well as patches, there are tablets, lozenges, gum and a nasal spray. And if you like holding a cigarette, there are handheld products too. Speak to your GP or local pharmacist to find out about the options available and order a free Quit Kit here.
5. Remember your Reason Why
Remind yourself of why you want to quit whenever you’re struggling. Write a list of reasons and look at it whenever you need to. For example:
- To save money for a holiday
- To stop my hair and clothes smelling like smoke
- To feel more fit and healthy so I can run after my grandchildren
Or, keep a photo of your loved ones on your phone, or set it as your screensaver. Remember that by giving up, you’ll be bettering your chance of being here with them for longer.
Giving up smoking isn’t easy, but there is help available. For more information, visit www.nichs.org.uk/information/risk-factors