If you want to stop smoking, Stoptober is the perfect opportunity to try and kick the habit. By quitting you’ll be healthier, your skin will look better and surprisingly you’ll feel less stressed.
Here at Champneys HQ we have asked a number of experts for their top tips and the small lifestyle changes that will help you resist the temptation to light up.
Ideally we would all like to make the transition to non-smoker a rapid one but realisitically it’s unlikely, you will be able to quit at the click of your fingers. I Instead consider creating a carefully thought out strategy.
Dr Riccardo Di Cuffa, Director and GP at Your Doctor, explains , “Set a date and time to stop smoking and smoke normally up until that point. Slowly cutting down on cigarettes can have a psychological effect that makes the cigarettes seem far more precious than they actually are. Put the money aside that you would have otherwise spent on cigarettes and watch your money grow!”
Clinical Director Dr Mark Jopling from Doc Tap adds, “Before trying to give up smoking it is worth thinking through your quitting strategy. Identify the crunch times when you reach for a cigarette and think what else you could do to fill those moments of weakness.”
Exercise has been proven to cut cravings and can help your brain to produce anti-craving chemicals too.
At Champneys we have a range of fitness boot camps and they can help distract you and keep you busy until the cravings pass.
Talking to us about the benefits of exercising, Public Health England, says, “When you stop smoking, you’ll be on the hunt for things to take your mind off cigarettes. Research shows you could be up to twice as likely to stay smoke free for 12 months or more if you combine physical activity with your quit attempt.
“Moving more eases nicotine withdrawal symptoms when you first quit smoking. It distracts you from thoughts of smoking and can improve your mood. It also helps you cope with stress and feel more energetic. It doesn’t stop there, your muscle tone will improve, you’ll feel a greater sense of accomplishment and your sleep will be improved.
“Taking at least one brisk ten minute walk a day has been shown to reduce the risk of early death by 15%. So why not download the Active 10 app, which shows how much brisk walking you are currently doing and provides tips and encouragement on how to fit ten minute bursts of brisk walking into your daily routine.”
Dr Mark Jopling from Doc Tap, agrees, “Exercise has been shown to reduce cravings. Exercise is also going to make you feel good about your new, healthier lifestyle and a positive mental attitude is key to breaking the addiction to smoking.”
Allen Carr's EasyWay, regarded as one of the best methods to stop smoking, believes you shouldn’t try to avoid thinking about smoking as it could work against you.
John Dicey, Worldwide CEO & Senior Therapist at Allen Carr's EasyWay, says, “If I say: “Don’t think about a brick wall, what are you thinking about? Just make sure that whenever you are thinking about it, you’re not thinking: “I want a cigarette but I can’t have one” but instead: “Isn’t is marvellous: I don’t need to smoke anymore and I don’t want to smoke anymore. Yippee, I’m a non-smoker!” Then you can think about it all you like and you’ll still be happy.”
It is important that you treat yourself now and again to stop you feeling deprived and stressed at the start of your smoking ban.
A treat could mean going on a spa day with friends or going to watch your favourite sports team.
Doc Tap’s Clinical Director Dr Mark Jopling, says, “Stopping smoking can make you tense and irritable so it makes good sense to plan some treats but avoid activities that you used to associate with smoking. A trip to a spa to unwind could be just the thing for you. Maybe plan a short break away to shake up your day-to-day routine (which included cigarettes) and to distract your brain with pleasant, positive experiences.”
Many experts suggest smokers should go to face-to-face support groups as well as try Nicotine replacement options.
A spokesperson for the charity, says, “The most effective way to stop smoking is by using a combination of face to face support from a smoking cessation service and an alternative nicotine delivery system, such as gum, patches or electronic cigarettes. Those who try to quit using this combination are four times more likely to succeed than those who try to stop without support.”
Dr Mark Jopling agrees, “Nicotine replacement works well and comes in tablets, gum, sprays and patches. It will help with the physical craving but it won’t address the psychological desire to light and smoke a cigarette. Changing your routine to disrupt those times which you associate with smoking will reduce that psychological craving.”
Another option that many use to stop smoking is going to the doctor to use prescription medication as this helps with any withdrawal symptoms.
Cancer Research UK, says, “Prescription medication to help you control the withdrawal symptoms is worth considering – this could be nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or non-nicotine stop smoking medications- varenicline (Champix) or bupropion (Zyban).”
Here at Champneys you could attend our Kick the Habit retreat as this helps you deal with the stresses and strains of giving up.
We know through our different fitness and health camps that getting extra support can go a long way to achieving your goal and this is no different when it comes to stopping smoking.
Dr Riccardo Di Cuffa says telling your family and friends will make them more considerate, especially if they smoke themselves.
She says, “Let your friends and relatives know that you are quitting smoking, especially if they are smokers. If your friends are aware of your plans they will find ways to be more considerate of your choice.”
If your feeling agitated or are missing the feeling of holding a cigarette in your hand, then there are lots of ways you can stop this.
Your Doctor’s Riccardo Di Cuffa, adds, “Most smokers are used to having something in their hands so try stress balls, pencils or paper clips to fiddle with as an alternative to a cigarette.”
John Dicey from Allen Carr's EasyWay, says, “Never be fooled into thinking you can have the odd cigarette just to be sociable or just to get over a difficult moment. If you do, you’ll find yourself back in the trap in no time at all.
“Remember: there is no such thing as just one cigarette.”
Smoking is bad for your health and as we’ve explained there are lots of benefits to stopping. Here are some hard and fast facts about how quickly your health can bounce back after your last cigarette.
Within 20 minutes - Public Health England say your blood pressure and pulse rate will return to normal.
After 8 hours - Carbon monoxide levels in your blood will reduce by half and oxygen levels will return to normal.
After 48 hours - Carbon monoxide will have left your body. Your lungs will start to clear out the mucus and other smoking debris. Public Health England’s experts also say your ability to taste and smell will greatly improve.
After 72 hours - Breathing becomes easier as your Bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy levels increase. Dr Mark Jopling from Doc Tap, says, “Your chance of COPD, which is a chronic, progressive condition affecting your breathing, is far less if you stop smoking. If you already have COPD then stopping smoking will make a massive difference to your lung function.”
After 2 to 12 weeks - Your circulation will improve.
After 3 to 9 months - Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as lung function increases by up to 10%.
Within two years – Your risk of dying from heart disease is reduced by half and the chance of suffering from a stroke is reduced to half that of a smoker and within five years it will be the same as a non-smoker.
10 to 15 years – Your risk of developing lung cancer will fall to half that of a smoker and your risk of heart disease is similar to that of someone who has never smoked.
Dr Riccardo Di Cuffa, Director and GP at Your Doctor adds, “You will have younger looking skin, better looking teeth and nicer smelling breath. Withdrawal from nicotine between cigarettes heightens your stress levels so by quitting you can reduce your stress levels. Ultimately though half of long term smokers die of smoking related diseases so if you quit, you are far more likely to live longer. Don’t forget a smoke free home also protects those you love.”