What is the best way to quit smoking?
Quitting smoking has a huge number of benefits from having more cash in your pocket to the obvious, and most importantly, to having an overall better health.
Look, it’s not easy and it’s certainly not going to be an easy ride but there are some key tips and tricks that should help you keep on track, keep motivated and keep away from a packet of cigarettes.
- Helps you to breath easier- improves our lung capacity by up to 10%
- Gives you more energy- improves circulation and boosts immune system
- Stress less- studies show that non-smokers have lower stress levels than smokers
- Better sex- improved blood flow can help men get better erections and improve arousal and orgasms in women (if that is not a reason to quit, I don’t know what is!)
- Improved fertility- improves the lining of the womb and make sperm more potent
- Save money- the average packet of cigarettes cost around £10
- Smell better- no one likes cigarette breath!
- Better social life- no more leaving your friends to stand in a cold smoking shelter
- No second-hand smoke, which can be harmful to those around you.
Is there an easy way to stop smoking?
If it was easy, there wouldn’t be any need for this guide!
Smoking isn’t just a habit, it’s an addiction and this is the main reason why it’s so difficult to quit.
Nicotine is a chemical that makes you addicted to smoking- the more you smoke, the more nicotine your body requires for you to feel ‘normal’.
When you give up smoking, your body isn’t getting any nicotine which can cause you to feel stressed, anxious and irritated.
This is known as withdrawal and it is the main reason that smokers continue to smoke, why choose to experience these unpleasant symptoms? You want more money in your pocket and healthy lungs, that’s why!
There are so many stop smoking products and services that can help you through withdrawal, so you’ll never want to light up again.
How should I choose a smoking cessation product?
With so many options, it can be a bit of a mind-boggle to know where to begin.
The first step is identifying what kind of smoker you are, to determine which kind of smoking cessation product will be the most suitable for you.
This is where the NHS Personal Quit plan is an invaluable tool- it’s a bit like a match-making service, but for stop smoking products.
NHS Personal Quit Plan
In just three easy steps, the NHS Personal Quit Plan works out the best combination of stop smoking products and services that are most likely to help you quit for good.
Simply answer 3 easy questions about your smoking habits and the NHS Personal Quit Plan will suggest the best smoking cessation process for you.
So now you know what products and services you may need, let’s explore these options to help you choose which one is best for you.
What are nicotine patches?
Patches are a form of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) that release low and controlled quantities of nicotine into the bloodstream via your skin to help fight cravings throughout the day.
They are available in a range of strengths depending on how heavy a smoker you are and can be worn around the clock (24-hour patches) or just while you’re awake (16-hour patches).
- Relieves cravings throughout the day
- Different strengths and time-frames available to suit your needs
- Can be easily and inconspicuously worn beneath clothing
- Releases nicotine slower than lozenges, gums or vapes.
- May cause skin irritation for some people
- 24 hour patches can disturb sleep
Why not try Nicotinell Patches?
What are nicotine lozenges?
Nicotine Lozenges dissolve slowly in the mouth for short bursts of craving relief.
You suck on the lozenge until the taste becomes strong then let it dissolve in the mouth, sucking whenever the taste fades to release nicotine.
- Fast acting craving release.
- Provides nicotine in short bursts help relieve withdrawal
- Faster nicotine release than patches
- Not suitable for people who have mouth ulcers
- Some may dislike the taste
What is nicotine gum?
Nicotine gum helps to fight cravings by releasing nicotine through the lining of your mouth.
Simply chew the gum like normal chewing gum, then rest on the inside of your cheek so the nicotine can be absorbed.
You may look like Violet Beauregarde, from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, chewing all the time, but it will keep those pesky cravings at bay!
- Available in 2mg and 4mg strength to suit the needs of the smoker (heavier smokers will need a higher dosage)
- Quick release of nicotine to fight cravings fast
- Some may dislike the taste
- Some people find it hard to get used to holding the gum in their mouths
Why not try Nicorette nicotine gum?
What is stop smoking hypnotherapy?
Stop smoking hypnotherapy works to re-programme your unconscious mind to remove the urge to smoke.
Hypnosis can convince you that you can gain the ‘positive’ effects of smoking (e.g. stress relief) from more healthy sources.
- No side-effects
- Can be easily combined with nicotine replacement products, such as patches
- Very little to no evidence to prove the effectiveness of hypnotherapy.
E-cigarettes (or vapes) allow the user to inhale nicotine in a vapour, like inhaling from a cigarette.
The vapour is produced by heating a solution known as e-liquid which contains nicotine, propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerine and flavourings.
They don’t produce tar or carbon monoxide, which are 2 of the most damaging components in tobacco smoke.
They come in various forms but the most common are:
- Cigalikes- look similar to tobacco cigarettes and are disposable or rechargeable
- Vape pens- shaped like a pen or small tube and have a tank to store e-liquid and replaceable coils
- Pod systems- compact rechargeable devices that use pre-filled or refillable e-liquid pods.
- Mods- generally the largest e-cigarette devices, they have a refillable tank, longer-lasting rechargeable batteries and variable power
- No harmful carbon monoxide or tar
- At least 95% less harmful than cigarettes.
- Two thirds of smokers managed to quit after switching to vaping in 2018-2019
- Not a risk-free alternative
- Not a lot of research to fully class them as a completely safe alternative to smoking
Why not try Vype E-cigarettes?
Smoking Cessation Services
There are so many smoking cessation services available from the NHS, from one-to-one and group stop smoking sessions to prescription medication.
They are free, friendly and can boost your chances of quitting smoking for good.
Stop Smoking Advisors
You will normally be offered a one-to-one appointment with an advisor but some services offer group sessions too.
You will identify why you smoke and why you want to quit, as well as any attempts you’ve made to quit in the past and together you’ll decide on a quit date.
After identifying this information, you will discuss NHS-endorsed stop smoking treatments and choose which is the most suitable for you.
You are 4 times more likely to quit if you use a combination of stop smoking products and support from a NHS Stop Smoking Service- those are pretty good odds!
Make an appointment with an adviser
- Stop smoking services in England
- Call the free Smokefree National Helpline on 0300 123 1044
- Stop smoking services in Scotland
- Call the free Smokeline on 0800 84 84 84
- Stop smoking services in Wales
- Call the free Help Me Quit helpline on 0800 085 2219
There are some medications available on prescription to help reduce cravings and the effects of addiction.
- Reduces cravings
- Blocks the rewarding and reinforcing effects of smoking
- Course of treatment usually lasts around 12 weeks, but it can be continued for longer if necessary
- Thought to have an effect on the parts of the brain involved in addictive behaviour
- Should be taken a week or two before you try to quit
- Course of treatment usually lasts around 7-9 weeks
NHS Smokefree App
The NHS Smokefree App is a 4 week programme that gives you instant access to support, encouragement and tailored advice all in one place.
- Daily motivational support messages
- Badges to reward progress
- A savings calculator, so you can see how much money you have saved by not smoking
- Record a motivation- lets you take a picture to remind you why you’re quitting
- Tips to help you with your craving and quitting journey