You’ve decided to stop smoking CONGRATULATIONS! Stopping smoking is a big step to take. It’s also one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.
Becoming a non-smoker is a process that takes time and determination. Eventually you won’t crave cigarettes at all. You may even find it hard to imagine you ever liked smoking.
Who can I talk to?
Giving up smoking can be challenging and everyone will have different experiences-sometimes we need someone supportive to talk to. You can talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist (staff at the chemist) if you need advice or if you prefer to call someone to talk with Quitline have friendly staff who can help by phone, text and email.
Quitline has an online support page 'Helping Pacific People Quit'
What to expect when quitting smoking
To quit smoking will always be different for everyone. The research has shown to have a better chance of quitting smoking is to get as much help all at the same time: using medicines like patches, lozenges and phone counselling from Quitline (stop smoking experts) and your support people such as partner, kids, family, friends, co-workers to also work towards the same goal alongside you.
The smoking addiction
The best way to stop smoking is to understand your addiction and how it affects you. With this information you are in a stronger position to stay smokefree. Smoking has three parts to its addiction:
1. Physical addiction to nicotine
There are thousands of chemicals in a cigarette-nicotine is just ONE of them. It is hugely addictive and when you are trying to quit the withdrawal symptoms you feel are from the nicotine. You will most likely have cravings which is the physical part of the addiction. To help with this nicotine patches, gum and lozenges can help. To order some go to the Quitline web page or call them and it will cost about $5 per product.
2. It’s a habit
Smoking turns into a habit-this is due to the routine, the number of times and activities you have connected smoking with such as with a morning coffee, after a meal or when you are driving. A habit creates cravings or a need – in this case it is to smoke a cigarette. It is highly likely that you now automatically do something and light a cigarette without thinking about it because it has become a well enforced habit.
3. Emotions are also a trigger
If you think about times when you are sad, angry, bored, stressed-have you been smoking to ‘get over it’ or to calm down? The way you feel, your emotions, are a big trigger for smoking-it can be a time filler, a way which you believe helps you to think or take time out before addressing what is going on. What emotions have you noticed make you want to smoke?
Once you can identify the emotions and habits that encourage you to smoke, you can create a plan to deal with those triggers, here are a few simple ideas to get you started:
- Try to wake up and get ready straight away instead of having a cigarette
- In the morning keep busy helping the family prepare for school and work
- If you have a ‘smoking spot’ try to avoid it and go somewhere else instead
- If you drink coffee and have a cigarette then change this e.g. switch to water
- Avoid alcohol until you feel strong enough to not smoke because it will knock down your confidence
- Tell people you want to quit so they know not to offer any smokes to you
- Write/post/have photos to remind you of why you want to stop smoking e.g. family, someone you were close to passed away
- Keep busy after meals-do the dishes, take the rubbish
- Walk with a friend with the extra time
- Tidy the house
- Throw away ashtrays and anything associated with cigarettes