Stub out your smoking habit

At times it will be tough, but here are just a few tips to help you stay on track:
Banish reminders - Get rid of all cigarettes, matches, lighters and ashtrays from your home.
Get cleaning - Wash your clothes and your hair; the fresh smell will motivate you to keep things that way.
Avoid temptation- Steer clear of people, places and activities that you associate with smoking. Ask your friends not to smoke around you and enforce a no smoking rule in your home.
Stay healthy - Eat well, drink lots of water and take a vitamin C supplement to help boost your immune system (smoking depletes vitamin C).
Brush your teeth - Instead of smoking after meals, get up and clean your teeth – your breath will be too fresh to spoil with smoke.
Ask for help - For one-on-one support visit your local Pharmacy to talk to trained stop smoking advisors who can give you the help you need to quit. Ask your friends and family for support.

Beat your cravings
Dealing with cravings (the intense desire to smoke) is one of the biggest challenges of giving up smoking. Try these tips.
Wait for the urge to smoke to pass: a craving usually lasts just three to five minutes. Drink a glass of water or close your eyes and take 10 slow, deep breaths.
Suck on boiled sweets or munch on carrot or celery sticks. It’ll stop you feeling hungry and give you something to do.
Chew an extra piece of nicotine gum to help stave off the desire for a cigarette.
If you miss having a cigarette in your hand, play with something else – a pencil or paper clip.
Distract yourself – take a shower, call or email a friend, do a crossword.
Discuss how you’re feeling with someone close to you.

Keep busy
Keeping busy will not only fill the time you used to spend smoking, but will also distract you from those cravings. Here are a few ideas
• Make a change - Why not do something you haven’t done for ages? Bake a cake or make a proper Sunday roast (with all the trimmings), immerse yourself in a gripping book or give the car a full wash ’n’ polish.

• Take up sport - Now that you’ve quit you’ll have more energy and your lungs will be working a lot better. It’s the perfect time to start doing the exercise that you enjoy. Why not join a sports club – football, hockey, netball or tennis? Many smokers complain about being out of breath and in pain after playing sport but you can now watch from the pitch as the smokers on your team suffer.

• Occupy your hands - Keep those mitts busy with anything from knitting to painting or sudoku. Invest in some puzzle books, squeeze a stress ball or shuffle a pack of cards while watching the TV. Even a session on the Playstation means you’re concentrating too hard to remember to smoke (so it does have a benefit after all!

Stress Busters
It's a myth that smoking helps you to cope with stress. In fact, the chemicals in cigarettes make your heart beat faster and increase your blood pressure. Non-smokers manage fine without smoking and generally report lower levels of anxiety and stress than smokers. To deal with stress:
Step back, take a deep breath and say ‘I can handle this
Realise that every problem has a solution that doesn’t involve smoking
Start yoga, watch comedies, take a walk in the park or relax in the bath – all effective stress relievers

Weigh Things Up
We know one of the side-effects of quitting is weight gain. Here are some top tips on battling the urge to snack...
Try to pour yourself a glass of water each time you feel the need to light up. It’ll keep your body hydrated and give your hands something to do!
Banish the biscuit tin and try not to snack on other fattening food, such as sweets, cakes and crisps. If you need a chocolate fix, try a low-calorie chocolate drink or low-fat mousse instead
Eat breakfast every morning to help keep your energy up throughout the day.
Keep a food diary for a week and write down everything you eat and drink. This will help you identify any bad eating habits that have crept in since quitting smoking and change them.
Limit alcohol and choose lower-calorie drinks. Gin or vodka mixed with slimline tonic has fewer calories than wine or beer, for instance.

How Exercise Helps
If you do put on a little weight while you’re giving up, take heart – a few extra pounds are far healthier than being a smoker! The good news is, now that you’ve quit it’s much easier to get active, helping you to lose it again. Exercise burns calories, depresses appetite, making you want to eat less. Mix aerobic activities such as fast walking, swimming, cycling or jogging with strength training such as light weights, building up how much you do gradually. Or try team sports – a kickabout in the park, tennis or squash. Exercise will help you control your weight and cut down urges for cigarettes. Finally, exercise helps you deal with stress by relieving tension.

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