This October saw the second instalment of NHS campaign Stoptober take place. Starting on 1 October 2013 and running for 28 days, the campaign aims to help people stop smoking for good. Research shows that those who stop smoking for 28 days are five times more likely to stay smoke-free. Stoptober 2012 saw over 160,000 people successfully complete the four-week challenge, and it's hoped that even more will have signed up for this year.
However, the hard work isn't over once the 28 days lapse; although the cravings should have almost entirely diminished, the social pressure of smoking will still be very much evident. Hopefully these tips to staying smoke-free will help anyone who might be wavering:
Change your diet
A study has revealed that certain foods such as red meat make cigarettes more satisfying. However, there are some that simply make cigarettes taste revolting; they include cheese, vegetables and fruit. So whilst you are going through the transition period, making a slight change to your diet will do wonders for your desire to smoke after meals.
Keep your hands and mouth busy
The act of smoking is not just addictive because of the nicotine but also because of the habits that it creates. The body learns routine quickly, such as holding a cigarette, so can struggle when the habit is changed abruptly. Some simple tricks to ease the transition include chewing gum to keep your mouth occupied and holding your drink in the hand you would usually hold your cigarette; and if you are really struggling, get a straw to twiddle on whilst you are on a night out.
Make a list of reasons to quit
It takes 21 days to learn a new habit; during that time the compulsion to smoke may feel truly overwhelming, but by choosing three key reasons you have quit and having items to hand that remind you of those will help you when your strength is tested. Write the list down and keep it in your wallet, or a daily reminder on your phone to remind you that you are doing a great job.
Of course it isn't just the health benefits that arise from kicking the habit, the long-term impact on things like health insurance is most certainly a positive one. Michael Day, Marketing Manager at Endsleigh had this to say about living life smoke free:
"The health benefits of stopping smoking are well-documented, but in addition to that, it can have a positive effect on life insurance policies and quotes, so this should act as a good incentive for people to quit.
The NHS has launched Stoptober in an effort to support those wishing to give up and to highlight the importance of living a smoke-free life. Endsleigh whole-heartedly supports this campaign and those taking part."
There are numerous support systems available to those quitting smoking, including the NHS and local GPs, as well as online resources and support groups. To find out the best way to go smoke-free, contact your GP.