Millions in the UK smoke cigarettes, although the vast majority would like to stop. Sources say 70% of smokers wish to give up, especially as smoking is the leading cause of cancer and preventable death in the world.
The inherent health risks are why more and more people are choosing smoking cessation, where a person stops using tobacco products containing nicotine.
However, this can be difficult, as nicotine is highly addictive, as much as heroin or cocaine, and thereby habit-forming. Those with an addiction to nicotine will also experience the symptoms of withdrawal when they stop. However, if you are a smoker, and would like to quit, then tobacco cessation is the answer.
Smoking cessation can have a significant impact on your health and wellbeing, dramatically reducing the possibility of succumbing to a tobacco-related illness. These may include COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and lung cancer, amongst other conditions linked to smoking.
By moving ahead with smoking cessation, you will be making a great step forward in your addiction recovery. If you decide to quit smoking, it can be a daunting, even frightening proposition. Some may be afraid of failure, concerned about the shock to their system or how it may affect their life. It can be hard to literally quit the habit of a lifetime. However, in excess of a million smokers successfully give up every year, experiencing the benefits not just to their health, but possibly their social and financial situation. Have you thought about how much money you will save if you stop smoking? These are important factors to consider, only heightening the need for smoking cessation.
There are various approaches you can take to quit smoking. Some consider stopping at all once without medical assistance, often referred to as `going cold turkey`. However, of those giving up on their own, without assistance, only between 3% and 6% achieve long term success.
Some try giving up gradually, reducing how much they smoke a little at a time, to cut down. Many also use medication, behavioural counselling, nicotine replacement therapy and substitutes for cigarettes like vaping, amongst other options. It is not uncommon for smokers to make numerous attempts at stopping, using different strategies. There are far more resources available to help smokers quit than ever before.
If you are ready to move ahead with smoking cessation, many recommended you begin by choosing a quit date. If you have a time frame in mind for when you stop smoking cigarettes, be it two weeks or a month from now, it can help prepare you for the struggle ahead. You could even utilise this time to start cutting down.
In most cases, decreasing your nicotine consumption involves reducing how many cigarettes you smoke. Smokers often cut down from twenty to ten a day, or smoking cigarettes with a lower nicotine strength; a process often referred to as gradual nicotine replacement therapy.
However, to get to the heart of your smoking habit, you may wish to explore just what brings on your nicotine craving, by identifying the trigger. It could play a crucial role in conquering your craving and giving up for good.
There are several widely known triggers which lead to nicotine cravings. They may be derived from a memory, be it a sound, smell or image, or it may be an emotion which makes you smoke. For example, many people have a cigarette when they are anxious, stressed or bored. It may also be a force of habit. Some smoke cigarettes after having a meal or when drinking coffee, while others smoke when drinking alcohol or driving in their car. Peer pressure can also play a part. If you are around other people smoking, at a party or a get-together, you may be compelled to join in.
These are some of the common triggers a smoker may face every day, and many are unavoidable. It is advised, to stay on course for giving up smoking, to limit your contact with triggers, and, if not possible, develop the necessary coping skills to deal with them.
If you are pressing forward with smoking cessation, you can profit from a strong support structure. Informing your friends and family of your intention to quit can help you stop smoking. Especially considering 90% of smokers who failed to give up tried quitting on their own. However, you can receive support from many different areas, from your partner or loved ones to professional counselling, both individually and as part of group therapy. Offering you the chance to discuss any issues which may be contributing to your nicotine addiction, with people who understand what you are going through. Highly skilled specialists and advisors can also help you find the motivation to continue abstaining from tobacco, which can be essential for aiding your recovery and preventing relapse.
Behavioural counselling can enhance your chances of giving up smoking, as well as using medications like varenicline, cytisine and bupropion. An anti-depressant regarded a front-line medicine in smoking cessation; it is known for resulting in long term success. However, bupropion may also bring on mood changes and seizures, alongside other side effects. Both medication and behavioural counselling are effective tools in helping people quit smoking, but they can be even more successful when combined.
Many undergoing smoking cessation also use Nicotine replacement therapy, otherwise known as NRT — a medically approved method of taking nicotine instead of tobacco. There are numerous types of NRT, which include patches, chewing gum and lozenges, nasal sprays and inhalers, amongst others. They have been found to greatly increase your odds of giving up smoking by between 50% and 70%, which is why so many choose this route when trying to stop.
Smoking claims millions of lives in the UK each year, but you can overcome your nicotine addiction and live a healthier life by choosing smoking cessation. For most smokers, one of the biggest challenges in life is giving up, but if you succeed, it will change your life forever.