The dangers and consequences of smoking and tobacco are well-documented. Still, despite the potential health consequences, smoking remains common in the UK. As of 2018, over 7 million people in the UK were smokers according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The issue is so prevalent that smoking is one of the leading causes of death and illness in the UK. According to the NHS, approximately 78,000 people die from smoking every year.
According to the ONS, 58.4 per cent of smokers over 16 years old said that they wanted to quit. Unfortunately, quitting is a difficult process that many people may struggle with even after multiple attempts. Despite the difficulty, smokers should be encouraged to continue their efforts in order to preserve their health. With that in mind, the following self-help tips may help ease the process:
- Stay positive—Even though you may have failed in a previous effort to quit, it does not mean that you will never be able to succeed. Reflect on past attempts and learn from the experiences.
- Plan for cravings—It is natural to have cravings while attempting to quit smoking. Make a list of strategies—such as calling a friend or family member—that you can use to distract yourself from cravings until they pass.
- Adjust your diet—Studies have shown that certain foods and drinks may make cigarettes less satisfying or cause them to taste worse. Consider eating more cheese, fruit and vegetables, and drinking more water and juice in order to make a cigarette seem less appealing.
- Team up—A support network can make all the difference when attempting to quit smoking. If you know someone else who has also been trying to quit, suggest that you tackle the task together. Stay in touch with each other for support and accountability.
- Exercise—Scientists have found that even moderate physical activity like a short walk can help to reduce cravings and may also help the brain produce anti-craving chemicals.
In addition to these strategies, smokers trying to quit should also consider contacting their GP or calling the NHS Smokefree helpline at 0300 123 1044.
Contains public sector information published by the NHS and licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.
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