Want to finally quit smoking? Get some helpful tips from the experts…

Laura Dowling

Laura, Supervising Pharmacist Manager, Stillorgan

Deciding to quit smoking is the single best thing that you can do for your health. Congratulations! You are on the road to a healthier, happier you. Like any bad habit quitting smoking is not easy. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug and your brain and body crave it. You also associate smoking with daily rituals known as trigger factors, which is why it can be so hard to break the cycle of smoking. The good news is that there are many products, both over the counter (OTC) and on prescription available in your pharmacy that can help you on the road to a smoke free life. Your Pharmacist or Doctor can help to advise you on what products are best suited to you, depending on how you smoke and how many cigarettes that you smoke.  They can also provide you with general advice on how to keep that willpower going!

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Deciding to quit is the first step below are a few helpful hints and tips on how to keep going:

  1. List your trigger factors and try to avoid or change those situations for at least the first month of quitting. This will increase your chances of success.

Common trigger factors would be:

  • First thing in the morning
  • With tea/coffee
  • In the car
  • Breaks at work
  • With a social drink
  • After a meal
  1. Be kind to yourself
  • Accept that it is extremely hard to quit and take each day at a time. I often tell my patients to not tell themselves that they will never smoke again but rather to tell themselves that they will not smoke today. This will help you not to panic at the thought of never having another cigarette. It is after all a habit that you enjoy, so the thought of never smoking again can be enough to make you fall off the wagon!
  • Reward yourself when you take a positive step forward, such as being cigarette free for a day, a week, two weeks. But do not punish yourself for slipping up. Just get back on the wagon.
  1. Declare your intentions to family and friends so that they can help to support you. Also clearing ashtrays from your home, washing clothes that smell of cigarettes and cleaning the car can help to remove reminders of smoking from your immediate environment.
  2. Prepare healthy snacks. Oranges are particularly good in this instance as peeling them keeps your hands busy and the strong flavour will help to distract from the cravings.
  3. Distract yourself when you are overcome with a craving by fully immersing yourself in an activity. Even brushing your teeth can be a distraction and leaves your mouth feeling fresh and not smoky!                        smoking 3It can also be helpful to remember that the health benefits to quitting smoking are immediate. They are a reminder to you about how far you have come.Health benefits timeline:

    After 20 mins: Your heart rate returns to normal.

    After 8 hours: Oxygen levels return to normal.

    After 48 hours: Your body is cleared of carbon monoxide. Lungs begin to rid themselves of mucus and other debris. Smell and taste improves.

    2-12 weeks: Circulation and breathing improves. Walking is easier and skin is more radiant.

    >12 weeks: Lung function increases by up to 10%. Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems reduce.

    After 1 year: Risk of heart disease is halved compared to someone who is still smoking.

    After 10 years: Your chance of getting lung cancer is half of that of a current smoker.

    After 15 years: Your risk of a heart attack or stroke is the same as that of someone who has never smoked.

     

    Good luck and remember that your Pharmacist is always here to help in any way that they can!

 

Quitters’ Update Tuesday: Week 4

Hi again everyone.  Naomi here with our first update of Week 4. I’m delighted to be reporting yet another smoke-free weekend for me, despite two social events.  Someone give me a star!

One night over the weekend was particularly tough.  I was at a birthday party with a lot of social smokers and I was more tempted than ever to go out and join them.  What stopped me wasn’t actually my amazing will power (I know!), but the smell…  My sense of smell really has improved so much.  And the wave of smoke that entered the room each time the patio door opened was astounding, not to mention a little bit sickening.  I just can’t believe I used to smell so bad.  I really don’t know how my non-smoker friends stuck it.  No smell from my Nicorette inhaler!

Speaking of my non-smoker friends, I spoke at the beginning of the blog about how they and my family were my motivation in breaking the habit in the first place.  I think it’s very important that you understand exactly why you want to quit, REALLY, and if you really do want it enough.  We bloggers are doing well for the most part, with less and less slip-ups along the way as we progress.  But in order to keep that going, we all need to want to be non-smokers for the long-haul.  I’m talking to a lot of people who are self-proclaimed quitters but who still smoke when they socialise (i.e. when they drink).  What is a non-smoker exactly?  And do you think you can really kick a habit if you allow yourself to indulge in the habit just some of the time?  I suppose it depends on your motivation, doesn’t it?  If it’s your health and your family, I don’t think being a ‘social smoker’ is going to cut it.  I intend working really hard to forget about cigarettes completely.

I spoke about Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking a couple of blogs ago.  To be honest, I found myself being afraid to finish it.  I don’t know why exactly so this week, I’m determined to get through it and let you know how I find it.  With that and the knitting, there’ll be no stopping me!

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Let’s see how Alison has been doing since last week…

Alison, Manager LloydsPharmacy Raheny, Aged 31

Still Smoke-Free?  YES!!

alison cropHi everyone!

Well I’m still off them…3 weeks so far and it’s getting a lot easier.  I think about them for a few seconds when I first wake up but they don’t cross my mind for the rest of the day/evening. The less I talk about them the easier it is!

I feel much better, even though I’m on antibiotics for a chest infection! My body doesn’t seem to appreciate the fact that I have given up because I’m on inhalers and I haven’t been on one since I was a child!! Hopefully it won’t last long and I’ll be fit as a fiddle in no time!! I’m sleeping much better than I had been in the first week on the patches… no more freaky dreams!

I have put on a little bit of weight but I just want to get through the stop smoking first and then I can worry about getting back in shape!! I’d rather be a fat non-smoker!!

I’m saving so much money it’s scary…I can leave the house without my purse now and not worry about getting cigarettes etc. I used to go to the shop and buy smokes, drink, magazine etc. and spend a fortune every day! I’ll have my new kitchen in no time!!

Hope everyone else is still off them!

Fantastic news Alison, well done!

Alison was compelled by her daughter, her partner and her wallet to give up.  And she obviously really wants to ensure she doesn’t let her family or herself down.  A new kitchen will be more than enough reward I reckon!

Chat soon,

Naomi…