If you’ve been thinking of quitting cigarettes for good, there’s never been a better time to do that than in October. Stoptober, an initiative by Public Health England, is a 28-day challenge run each October where participants pledge to not smoke during the 28-day period – as a stepping stone to giving up cigarettes altogether! The campaign has been especially effective in the past as research has shown that people who quit smoking for 28 days were more likely to quit for good.
We’re well into Stoptober, and for those of you who’ve started your pledge this year, how are you feeling so far? According to previous participants, the halfway milestone is where it becomes just a little easier and you can start to see the benefits of living without smoking. If you’re reading this and are thinking it’s too late, don’t fret – you can still pledge to quit smoking. And with these great resources and support to help you every step of the way, the daunting idea of giving up cigarettes might be easier than you think.
You don’t have to go cold turkey by yourself; try these simple steps and sign up for support while you take on the rest of Stoptober!
Make a public pledge
This might sound silly, but making a public declaration to yourself, your friends and family will make it easier when you’re quitting. They’d be able to check in on you and be the support you need when the cravings strike.
Make a list
I’m sure you’ve heard all the reasons before of why smoking is bad for your health, but what are your reasons? Why have you decided to quit? Make a list of real reasons of why you’re doing this – be it your family, cost or a personal health goal – so that you can go back to it when you need the reminder of why you’re quitting.
Change your routine
Maybe you smoke in the morning with a coffee, before your work commute, after a meal or when you’re stressed out. Whatever your routine think about adjusting it slightly, so that you’re less inclined to light up a cigarette. The most effective way to change your routine is to start a new one altogether, to replace the bad habit with a good one.
Speaking of good habits, starting an exercise regime will also help with quitting. Exercising, even light walking, releases endorphins, which is a hormone that helps relieve stress and boost happiness. The more you exercise, the more you’d want to exercise and physical activity will help prevent nicotine cravings.
Free NHS services to help quit smoking
The NHS offers free local stop smoking services that provide a wide array of tools to help you during your first few months of quitting. You can access these services via a referral from your GP, or simply contact them yourself by making an appointment:
Find quit smoking services in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Using these free NHS services will also enable you to get affordable treatments such as Varenicline (Champix), Bupropion (Zyban), and nicotine replacement therapy, such as patches and gum.
Online peer-support on HealthUnlocked
If one-on-one or group support sessions are too unnerving for you, you can always try online peer support on a community on HealthUnlocked. You can ask questions, get tips and advice and learn from others who’ve been there before – who know exactly what you’re going through.
“Without Quit Support and all its members, I don’t think I could have kept going. The love and care you all sent was unbelievable. THANK YOU you are all angels. THINK when the cravings start, is it worth it. I know my answer. I am sure your brain knows the answer too.”– HealthUnlocked member
Join 12 000 others in the Quit Support community on HealthUnlocked, for people like you, who would like to quit smoking.