The majority of smokers try quitting smoking and yet many fail – here are some tips for smokers and their families to successfully quit smoking.

Why quit smoking?

Here are 10 reasons to quit smoking:

  • Passive smoking is harming those around you
  • Smoking affects the health of children
  • Smoking harms unborn babies
  • Smoking causes diseases, such as lung cancer, which are painful and frightening due to the breathing problems they create
  • Smoking causes heart attacks
  • Smoking is costing you money that you could be spending on other things
  • Smoking smells and smokers smell too
  • Smoking whilst using oral contraceptives carries a high risk of stroke and clotting diseases
  • Smoking affects your sporting performance
  • Smoking affects fertility – your ability to have a child.

You are worth far more, your whanau is worth far more, your friends are worth far more.

As soon as you quit you are helping your unborn baby to grow to their full potential, you are helping your child to breathe more easily and you are immediately reducing your risk of dying from a respiratory disease.

What can I do to help myself quit smoking?

The earlier you quit the easier it will be. The longer that you smoke the more likely you will become addicted to nicotine, and consequently have the problem of giving up the social habit, as well as the addictive drug.

Nicotine is just as addictive as the ‘hard drugs’ such as heroin, only its effects are much less – and of course it is legal (though I’m not sure why!).

Ask yourself some questions, answer them honestly, so that you know exactly what the problem is:

  • Do you crave a cigarette within an hour of wakening?
  • Do you feel irritable about your cigarettes — running out, not being able to afford them?
  • Do you feel uncomfortable about going out and not smoking?
  • Do you have friends who always smoke and you would find it difficult to be with if you were not smoking?
  • If you were not smoking, is there something you could do instead at the times that you would normally be having a cigarette?

By asking yourself these questions and answering yourself honestly, you will be able to figure out whether you have an addiction to nicotine, or the social aspect of smoking, or both.

Remember that there are products to replace the nicotine in your body while you are giving up. Be realistic though – these will only reduce the craving for nicotine, they will not replace the social aspect of smoking, such as sharing a drink and a cigarette with friends in the pub!

In order to get over this hurdle you will need their support. Ask them not to offer you a cigarette and if they go outside for a cigarette, stay inside with other non-smoking friends. The first couple of times will be the worst.

Are there people who can help me to quit smoking?

Well, that’s the good news – there are a whole host of people out there who are just waiting to help you quit. Some are free, some will cost you. But remember that smoking is costing you a whole heap of money and paying for help to quit is a temporary measure, with long lasting benefits.

  • Many doctor surgeries offer support to help you quit smoking.
  • “Quitline” also offers support, check out their details below
  • Hypnotherapists offer support and help in giving up smoking
  • Acupuncture therapy may also be helpful if you are trying to quit
  • Support groups are available – if you are seriously worried that you will need support.

What are the advantages to quit smoking?

Giving up smoking is the most positive thing you can do to improve your health

If you are a parent then giving up smoking is the best thing you can do for your children

Quitting the smoking habit will free up a lot of money to spend on yourself and your family

If you quit today your chance of a heart attack will start to reduce tomorrow

If you quit today your chances of getting lung cancers and other smoking related diseases will decline and become equal to a non smoker.

What are the disadvantages of quitting smoking?

There are none!

Some people worry that they will put on weight – well, a lot of people do not. It depends what you do instead of having a cigarette.

If you are afraid that you will eat more, then make an arrangement to walk or run with a friend 2 or 3 times a week (remember that this will be a lot easier when your lungs are smoke free). Then your weight will stay constant even if you do have the odd extra muffin!

And remember – if you relent and have one you have not given up giving up.

Just move on from it and try again.

Most ex-smokers took a few tries before they quit for good.

Quitline (www.quit.org.nz) provides free phone support (0800 778 778) and subsidised nicotine replacement.

Useful articles

Smoking explains the habit of tobacco smoking and gives useful information on this habit.

For information on Cannabis, click here

Kiwi Families has great information for teenagers about staying safe around Alcohol at Parties.

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Paula Skelton is a qualified NZ nurse and midwife, a midwifery & childbirth educator and the mum of three lovely girls.

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