What is Stoptober?
Stoptober is an annual event where smokers are encouraged to give up smoking for at least 28 days during October. If you can quit for 28 days you are 5 times more likely to quit for good. The NHS has a free Stoptober app to help you make it through the 28 days with daily support messages, a savings calculator and tips to help you manage any cravings.
Why is it hard to quit alone?
Nicotine is highly addictive, producing a physical dependence. Once all the nicotine has left your body, you may start to experience withdrawal symptoms in the form of headaches, cravings and insomnia. These symptoms should disappear two weeks after you quit.
There can also be mental/emotional withdrawal symptoms too. Nicotine is a simulant which can provide temporary relief for symptoms of anxiety and depression. So, when that nicotine is removed, it can lead to temporary anxiety, depression and irritability. Once again, these symptoms will leave after a couple of weeks.
What methods are available to quitters?
The most effective aid for you will come down to your lifestyle/ personal preference, whether you’re pregnant or have any medical conditions. Your quit smoking adviser or GP will be able to help you choose the best method for you.
- Nicotine Inhalers – replicate the action of smoking so good if you want to keep your hands busy
- Vape – like inhalers but you still get the sensation of exhaling, and an array of flavours are available
- Nicotine Gum – nicotine is released into your saliva through the gum
- Nicotine Patches – help to reduce nicotine cravings
- Cold-turkey – the method that requires no quit smoking aids. Set yourself a quit date and don’t pick up another cigarette. This method requires the most willpower so unsurprisingly has the lowest success rate; only 1% are successful.
The NHS gives the following ‘quitting tips’:
- List your reasons to quit
- Tell people you’re quitting
- If you have tried to quit before, remember what worked
- Use stop smoking aids
- Have a plan if you are tempted to smoke
- List your smoking triggers and how to avoid them
- Keep cravings at bay by keeping busy
- Exercise away the urge
- Join a group for support and advice.
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