If you’re hoping to quit smoking, this could be just the time to do it.
Because October is also Stoptober (stoptober.smokefree.nhs.uk), the month when the nation’s eight million smokers are officially urged to quit for 28 days.
Why that amount? Well, evidence indicates that people who stop smoking for 28 days are five times more likely to quit for good.
The trouble is, many would-be quitters don’t reach that milestone.
As for the psychological wrench of breaking the habit, quitting can cause nicotine withdrawal symptoms, including cravings, headaches, irritability and sleep problems. Faced with all that, it’s easy to just go back to bad habits.
Nobody ever said quitting would be easy – but it is definitely worth it, and there is lots of help out there to support you towards your goal. Follow these steps for starters...
The key to quitting for good is to make a plan that works for you.
To help you get motivated, think about the benefits of stopping smoking, like better health for you and your family, and saving lots of money.
CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE
Many smokers can’t resist a fag when they’re having a drink, so if that’s you, you’ve got a much better chance of quitting successfully if you avoid the pub.
Nobody’s saying don’t ever drink again, just do something else until you’ve mastered this non-smoking lark and your cravings have eased.
LAUNCH A DOUBLE ATTACK
Studies show you’re up to four times more likely to quit successfully if you use a combination of stop smoking medicine and specialist help and support.
Don’t do this alone. Local NHS Stop Smoking Services provide expert advice and support to help you quit for good.
They offer free one-to-one support and can also provide stop smoking medicines. Find details of your local service at nhs.uk/smokefree
THE DRUGS DO WORK
Stop smoking medicines, including Champix tablets (varenicline), Zyban tablets (bupropion), and nicotine replacement therapies (NRT), such as patches, gum, lozenges, microtabs, inhalators and nasal sprays, can really help quitters manage nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
They’re still slightly controversial, but a large University College London study earlier this year did seem to support e-cigs.
Call the free Smokefree helpline on 0300 123 1044, or order a free Quit Kit from quitnow.smokefree.nhs.uk/