Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Stub out your smoking habit. *





Smoking is one of those habits that you can’t logically explain and yet struggle to give up. You know that smoking causes cancer, you know the damage that every single puff can do to you and everyone around you… and yet it feels so good, you just can’t stop.


For many people, smoking is the one vice they feel powerless to overcome. While you might have the strength and curiosity to give something like Veganuary a go, quitting smoking isn’t just about having the strength to stop. Quitting smoking is difficult because you need to overcome an addiction that is probably shaping your whole lifestyle.


But while stopping smoking is difficult, plenty of people have shown that it is possible to stop, and stop for good. It will be a challenge, but with a few tricks up your sleeve, it is possible to ride out your cravings and start a new, healthier lifestyle.


Here’s what you can do…

Use Nicotine Replacements

The main reason that smoking is so addictive is the nicotine content. Nicotine is an addictive substance that, when it arrives in the brain, encourages the release of dopamine, the feel-good hormone. As you get more acclimated to the nicotine, your brain wants more and more to achieve the same feeling you got from the first drag.


This video explains things a little better:




Given that the nicotine is the addictive substance, it makes sense that if you want to give up smoking, you should start with a nicotine replacement. This might take the form of patches or chewing gum but you could also consider other options. Champix tablets can help smokers quit, for example, by blocking receptor sites.


Using nicotine replacements makes quitting smoking a little easier because you will still get the hit you crave without having to take in all the other carcinogenic chemicals found in cigarettes. However, you may also miss the time that smoking gives you. In this case, you might like to try sucking a lollipop as a sort of surrogate.

Reduce Your Nicotine Intake Gradually

Some people are able to stop smoking overnight. It takes a will of steel and next level determination not to smoke but it is perfectly possible. However, for most people, quitting gradually is an easier method, especially if you have been smoking for a long time. If you have tried going cold turkey before and failed, reducing your nicotine is a good option for you.


One popular way to gradually reduce nicotine intake is the use of e-cigarettes. As you can choose the nicotine percentage in the liquid you buy, it is quite easy to gradually reduce your intake right down to 0%, at which point you are essentially inhaling flavoured steam.
The main benefit to reducing your nicotine intake in this way is that you still have the sensation of smoking you crave without the same harmful effects. In a way, this is the exact opposite of nicotine replacements as you still have the sensation of smoking rather than an alternative.


If you do choose to use alternative methods like gum or Champix tablets, you should still try to reduce your dependence over time. This is simply because as long as you are addicted to nicotine and craving it, you are still at risk of returning to smoking.

Stay Motivated with Rewards

Learning to relax without turning to smoking is hard, but with time and practise, you will be able to relax without leaning on cigarettes. This should be both your motivation to continue to not smoke but also should help you to achieve your goal. When you can relax without a cigarette or even a craving, you know that you’ve been successful.


Kicking a bad habit is hard but there’s no need to make it harder by failing to reward your progress. You probably used smoking as a way to relax and get a few minutes to yourself but you don’t have to sacrifice relaxation or time to yourself with the cigarettes you are ditching. Instead, you should keep yourself motivated with healthy rewards.


Finding the perfect way to relax is a very personal mission. For some people, a warm bubble bath does the trick; for others, a 30 minute run at the gym is perfect. Of course, a cigarette provides a mere couple of minutes of relaxation so these tips for calm in 5 minutes might be good for you too.


Rewards are also a good way to keep you motivated and you could easily set up a sort of scheme to keep you going. As you are likely saving a lot of money by not buying cigarettes, you already have a fund for rewards. Think about it this way, if you are currently smoking just 5 cigarettes a day, you are likely spending around £75 per month on your habit. This adds up to £912.50 per year. As savethestudent.org points out, this is the equivalent of more than 250 pints in the local pub!


While you might not wish to swap nicotine for alcohol, you should think about what you might like to spend this money on and decide how you are going to reward yourself. For example, you might choose a small treat each week or you could defer your reward and put the money into a savings account. Saving like this could easily pay for a short holiday – an excellent reason to stop smoking!

Get Started

So now you know what to do and how to do it, it’s time to kick your smoking habit once and for all. You may have missed the boat for making a new year’s resolution but you can decide to stop any time you like. Using the maths above, you could save over £800 this year!


So, start now. You got this.

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