Quit Smoking: Overcoming Your Smoking Habit

Peterborough Counsellor


If you are a smoker and would like to quit then there is good news, over 40 years of research has led to the development of many successful programs that help people quit. Quitting smoking can help contribute to a healthier, longer life and will also save you money as well.

Many people who quit, regardless of background or culture, report feelings of empowerment, self-control and deep satisfaction in achieving what had previously seemed impossible – quitting smoking. Nothing can give a smoker a greater boost to his or her self-esteem than to give up the smoking habit successfully.
 

Why You Should Quit Smoking

Quitting smoking is, in all probability, the most important thing you can do to improve your health. If you can quit smoking:

  • You will live longer and live a healthier life.
  • You will significantly reduce your chance of having a heart attack, stroke, or cancer.
  • If you are pregnant, quitting smoking will improve your chances of having a healthy baby.
  • The people you live with, especially your children, will be healthier.
  • You will save a lot of extra money to spend on other things.


The Challenges of Quitting Smoking

Smoking is one if the strongest addictions. A smoker once told me that he smoked almost everywhere he went, including the shower. He kept a cigarette alight in a high-up soap dish so he could take a puff whenever he felt like it.

The fact that you can smokie in so many different circumstances and situations is one of the main reasons smoking is such a difficult habit to break. If smoking could be restricted to only one or two situations, the habit would be much easier to control. But you can smoke in the car, house, bed, street, park, bar and restaurant. Although many more restrictions are now in force in public places, there are still plenty of places available for smoking.

A major breakthrough in learning to control your smoking is to appreciate that every separate situation in which you smoke is a distinct and separate smoking habit. When you realise the truth of this statement, you will be ready to begin the process of quitting in a serious manner.

Until then you will be forced into traditional ways of thinking that smoking is a single habit. The title of this page should really be Overcoming Your Smoking Habits!

How to Quit Smoking

It's never to late to stop smoking. Quitting smoking at age 65 or older reduces a person risk of dying of a smoking related disease by nearly 50 per cent.

Probably you have tried to quit smoking many times before, and you know how hard it can be. Usually people have to try several times before finally being able to quit. Nicotine is a very addictive drug, more addictive than heroin or cocaine.

Each time you have tried to quit, even though you did not make it, you have learned something about what helps and what hinders you.

That knowledge will help you now.

Learning about your smoking habit is one of the best things you can do toward helping you reach your stop smoking goal.

You’ll also need motivation and timing and to follow the seven steps below.

1.      Getting prepared

2.      Getting support

3.      Removing the reward value and pleasure of smoking

4.      Removing the stress-smoke spiral

5.      Getting medication and using it correctly

6.      Preparing for relapse or difficult situations

 

Motivation


The strength of your motivation is a key factor in successfully overcoming your smoking habit. Think about why you want to give up smoking. Is it because your worried about your health? Or because your habit is becoming a drain on your finances? Write theses reasons down and keep them handy, so you can look at them when you feel like giving up your efforts to quit smoking.

Have benefit. One of the biggest difficulties faced by smokers is the conviction that failure is inevitable. If you are confident that you will achieve your goal, you will be in a better position to do so.

Any lurking self-doubts need to be removed right now. If you believe that your chances of stopping smoking are only slight, that belief will sabotage even the most carefully designed program. Tell yourself that, in seven to 10 days, you will be a non-smoker and enjoy life much more than you do now. Become optimistic. Become enthusiastic. Most of all become confident in your own ability to overcome smoking.

Timing

Timing is of essence. At certain times, circumstances may stop you mailing such a major change. For example, if you are in the process of changing jobs, have recently lost your job, or are going through a separation or divorce., or have just suffered a bereavement and other trauma, this is defiantly not a suitable time to attempt to stop smoking.

It takes a period of consolidated effort to be able to quit smoking successfully. If you are going through other major changes at the same time, you won’t be able to manage the necessary effort to quit smoking as well. In those cases, it would be better until things settle down before embarking upon a quit smoking programme.

Another easy to arrange factor is the day of the week when you begin the stop smoking programme. Experience suggests that it is better to make progress over the main part of the week first, then to tackle the weekend. For many people the weekend is very different from usual Monday to Friday routine, so the weekend will need some special planning when you are in the middle of quitting smoking.

The best day to begin a quit smoking programme is a Tuesday. By starting then you will be able to reduce your cigarette consumption to manageable proportions by the weekend.

You’ll also avoid the “Monday Effect”, caused by the extra stress and hassle after the more leisurely days of Saturday and Sunday.

It’s also a good idea to steer clear of weeks ending in long-weekends or special occasions such as Christmas, New Year, festivals and holidays, because you need to quit when things are relatively normal and routine. That gives you the best chance to stop smoking.

1.  Getting prepared

Withdrawal symptoms are physical and mental changes that occur following interruption to drug use. They are normally temporary and require a period of adjustment. The withdrawal symptoms following smoking cessation are many and varied. A list of some of the main ones, together with their duration and prevalence, is given in the table below

Symptom

Duration

Prevalence

Increased appetite

10 or more weeks

70 per cent

Urges to smoke

Greater than two weeks

70 per cent

Depression

Less than 4 weeks

60 per cent

Restlessness

Less than 4 weeks

60 per cent

Poor Concentration

Less than 2 weeks

60 per cent

Irritability / aggression

Less than 4 weeks

50 per cent

Night-time awakenings / insomnia

Less than 1 week

25 per cent

Strange smoking-related dreams

Less than 1 week

10 per cent

Constipation

More than 2 weeks

10 per cent

Cough / cold symptoms

Less than 4 weeks

10 per cent

Mouth Ulcers

More than 4 weeks

10 per cent

Reduced heart-rate

Long-term

90 per cent

Decreased tremor

Long-term

90 per cent

Increased skin temperature

Long-term

90 per cent

Decreased caffeine metabolism

Long-term

90 per cent

Weight increase (6kg, 13lb average)

Long-term

90 per cent

Dietary preferences

Long-term

90 per cent

2. Getting support

You can get support in many ways:

  • Tell your family, friends, and colleagues that you are going to quit and want their support. Ask them not to smoke around you or leave cigarettes out.
  • Talk to your doctor, dentist, nurse, pharmacist, psychologist, or smoking counsellor. 
  • Get individual, group, or telephone counselling. The more counselling you have, the better your chances of quitting. See Healthy Peterborough led by Peterborough Council and Peterborough and Stamford NHS for information about programmes in the Peterborough area.


3. Removing the reward value and pleasure of smoking

Each and every occasion that you have a smoke is a separate smoking habit. Each set of circumstances in which you smoke contains at least one ‘trigger’ that sets a whole chain of activity moving. You have learned these chains of behaviour over several months or years. Now you need to break your smoking chains, reversing the learning that has gone on over a very long time.

4. Removing the stress-smoke spiral

The body and kind are never in a fixed stable state. There’s is a contact flux or energy and activity as the individual respond to the changing demands of the environment. When the demands are high the body / mind may lack sufficient resources to deal with these demands.

This state is generally referred to as stress.

The smoker always responds to stress by smoking.

This creates a stress-smoke spiral, in which the stress triggers smoking and smoking triggers more stress. The two things serve as triggers for each other, crating a self-perpetuating spiral. It is difficult to escape the spiral without controlled intervention.

5. Getting medication and using it correctly

One method to reduce craving and the risk of relapse is to use medication. Taking nicotine in a safer form is the main option. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can lessen the urge to smoke and remove some of the withdrawal symptoms. Forms of NRT include chewing gum, transdermal patches, nasal spray, inhalers and pills.

6. Preparing for relapse or difficult situations

Something like 50 to 60 percent of all lapses occur as a result of obtaining a cigarette from another smoker. In many cases the lapse occurs while alcohol, food, tea, or coffer are being consumed, and smoker just fall back into their old ways.

As an ex-smoker, you may not think or behave rationally, as far as your smoking is concerned, for several months or years following quitting. Once a smoker, you are always smoker, potentially.

Your smoking friends may therefore unwittingly put you at risk simply by smoking in your company. One key to successful relapse prevention is to learn to manage social situations where eating and drinking occurs in the company of smokers.

Why Willpower is Not Enough


The main reasons that willpower is not enough is that it is extremely difficult to break an addiction purely because you want to. It doesn’t matter how much you try to force yourself to stop smoking because your addiction is physiological state similar to hunger. The longer you leave it, the worse it gets.

Cravings for nicotine, when you have been unable to smoke for a while, are similar to cravings for food when you’re hungry or for water when you are thirsty. The nicotine addictions have created a new bodily need.

The root cause of the cravings may be so persistent that they require powerful psychological techniques that have been especially developed to change habits and addictions.

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We have several years’ experience in helping people quite smoking with a very high success rate. All our methods are natural ways of quitting smoking.

Reach out to schedule your first appointment. During your first session, you can share your though about how to proceed and together we'll work up a quit smoking plan. The plan will be based on your needs, how motivated you are the type of environment your living in and what you may have learnt from previous attempts to quit. Although smoking can be difficult it is possible and doing so can be very rewarding to your body, but also to you personally as well.

Reach out to schedule your first appointment. Call ​01733 639 040 or email info@mentalwellnesscounselling.uk. We're here for you.

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