Good reasons to quit

Why you should quit

  • Smoking causes bad breath and smelly fingers, hair and clothing. It reduces your sense of smell and taste, and can lead to cancer and heart disease.
  • Smoking harms nearly every organ in your body.
  • Tobacco smoke is made up of thousands of chemicals and many of them are very harmful. Around 70 of them cause cancer.
  • Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in Victoria.
  • On average out of every 1 000 deaths in Victoria, 119 are caused by smoking (Quit Victoria 2013).

Triggers

Once you've made the decision to quit smoking, there will be moments that will test your resolve. Prepare for these moments by thinking about what your triggers are and how you can deal with them as they arise. Below is a list of possible triggers and suggestions for managing them to get you started.

Remember, the urge to smoke only lasts a few minutes and will then pass. The urges gradually become farther and farther apart as the days go by. Drink lots of water and breathe deeply. Water helps to flush out the toxins in your body and breathing deeply cleanses the lungs and helps you to relax.

Trigger Ways to Manage Triggers

I am stressed

  • Go for a walk or run
  • Make time for your hobbies
  • Try deep breathing exercises
  • Meditate
  • Make sure you're getting enough sleep
  • You might want to see a counsellor depending on how stressed you are

I am bored

  • Meet up with a friend
  • Do something active
  • Try something new

I’m driving in my car

  • Drink water
  • Try deep breathing exercise
  • Listen to your favourite song
  • Don’t keep cigarettes in your car

After dinner

  • If you are at home
    • Wash the dishes when you would usually have a cigarette
    • Watch a TV show or movie
  • If you are at a restaurant:
    • Don't take cigarettes with you
    • Enlist your friends to stop you
    • Become engaged in conversation so it would seem rude to leave the table
  • Try drinking less alcohol at dinner time or even when you're out
Before bedtime
  • Brush your teeth
  • Have a cup of tea instead
  • Try stretching as it can relieve tension

Common excuses

There are many excuses that smokers use to avoid quitting. Below are 7 common excuses and how to overcome them.

Excuse How to Overcome the Excuse
The damage is done

You might feel that because you smoke, you've already increased your chance of getting cancer or another smoking-related disease, so quitting now won't make any difference. In fact, as soon as you quit, your body starts to repair itself.

You'll notice improvements in your breathing and sense of taste and smell just a few days after stopping. You'll also improve the health of your family and friends by not exposing them to passive smoking.

I'll gain weight

Medical evidence shows that nicotine doesn't stop you getting hungry. Nicotine makes you burn calories faster, but as long as you remember that you need less food energy, quitting won't actually make you gain weight.

Try eating low-fat options and take up an activity instead of replacing cigarettes with food.

I'll get stressed

Despite what you may think, nicotine doesn't calm you down.

Nicotine cravings between cigarettes make you feel stressed and anxious, so when you smoke the cigarette you feel calmer. But you'll feel less stressed once you quit and don't have cravings any more.

If you want a cigarette, wait for 10 minutes and the craving will usually pass. Take some deep breaths or go for a walk to relieve the stress and distract you from those cravings.

It's not the right time to quit

Although it's true that you shouldn't try to quit during particularly stressful times, don't use this as an excuse to never try quitting.

Pick a particular date, such as the beginning of a holiday or the beginning of a working week. Work out what makes you want a cigarette, such as having a cup of tea or going to the pub, and pick a day when you can avoid these triggers.

Telling lots of people that you're giving up will make you more likely to quit. You won't want to let them down, and you can ask smokers not to offer you cigarettes.

Quitting will ruin my social life

For many smokers, cigarettes are an important part of their social life. You may class yourself as a social smoker, who only has a cigarette when you're with friends who smoke or during nights out. You may also have bonded with colleagues during cigarette breaks.

Although social smoking may seem better than smoking 40 a day, any cigarette smoking damages your health.

Smoking looks good

For some people, holding a stick of tobacco wrapped in paper seems attractive and fashionable. Teenagers may think it makes them look older or cooler.

But many people find the sight of a smoker unattractive. Yellow fingernails, blackened fingers and a stained tongue are not a pretty sight.

Smoking also makes your complexion dull and prematurely ages your skin. So if you don't want to look old before your time, it's a good idea to quit.

There's also the smell - cigarette smoke sticks to your hair and clothes long after you've had your last cigarette of the day. Some people think kissing a smoker is like 'kissing an ashtray'. If you'd prefer to smell fresher, now's the time to quit.

I can't quit because I'm addicted

There is some truth in this. Smoking is an addiction that's undeniably tough to quit. But it's not impossible. With a lot of determination, you can do it.

To quit successfully, you need to deal with your chemical addiction to nicotine and the fact that smoking has become part of your daily routine.

The chemical addiction causes physical symptoms when you quit, such as tiredness, irritability and poor concentration. Your doctor can prescribe medication to replace the nicotine. There are counselling and support groups that can give you extra motivation to help you ignore your cravings.

Change your routine so that you replace smoking a cigarette with an alternative, such as a drink of water or another activity.

Health Direct Australia 2013.

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