How to quit smoking before it’s too late

Just in time...


By Redzhanna Jazmin

How to quit smoking before it’s too late

In honour of No Smoking Day today, we’ve rounded up our best tips for curbing your tobacco addiction (and consulted the pros for the clinically-proven methods too!).

Happy No Smoking Day! Now, if you’re a smoker and you’re here, that means you’re looking to stop. That’s fantastic! Quitting tobacco starts with you actually wanting to quit, so keep that motivation where it is and buckle in for the ride!

We promise it’ll be worth enduring the few cruddy weeks of nausea and irritability. Ahead, we get into the details to help you on your way to becoming officially smoke-free:


how to stop smoking


Why should you quit smoking?

There are a lot of reasons why you should kick the bad habit, and the risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is just the beginning. In addition to causing lung cancer, smoking also increases your risk for heart and eye diseases, strokes and more, none of which are particularly fun or easy to live with.

There are also the financial costs that come with smoking, along with the medical bills you’ll eventually have to pay when said health issues arise. Plus, there are the cosmetic impacts that smoking can have on your looks, including stained teeth and premature ageing. Not to mention, smoking doesn’t just affect you—according to the World Health Organisation, secondhand smoke exposure kills around 1.3 million people prematurely every year. So, for your health and the health of others, it’s time to quit.


how to stop smoking


How to stop smoking

In an ideal world, you could quit smoking cold turkey and rely on nothing else but sheer will to curb your cravings. Unfortunately, nicotine is a powerful drug and withdrawal is a cruel mistress. It’ll throw everything it has at you, from nausea to anxiety to restlessness and more—and that’s just the beginning. That said, there are a few things you can try when you’re overwhelmed.

We’ve got tried and tested tips from former smokers and consulted Dr Lucas Wee Jee Koon, Consultant Respiratory Specialist and Internal Medicine Physician at Sunway Medical Centre Velocity, who has shared his best tips for quitting tobacco.


Method 1: Try some smoking aids

Dr Lucas recommends the Nicorette® Invisi Transdermal Nicotine Patch. However, there are also other prescription nicotine systems like inhalers, nasal sprays, chewing gums and lozenges to consider, as well as prescription non-nicotine (but anti-smoking) drugs. While they won’t solve your cravings completely, they can help to dampen them.


Method 2: Get moving

Alternatively, if none of that seems to help you much, you could also try replacing your urges with exercise. The boost of endorphins and serotonin you’ll get from working out will do wonders in suppressing your cravings. Plus, staying fit is always good for you!


Method 3: Stay busy

Cravings are easier to deal with when you’re distracted! Sink into your work, start binge-watching your favourite shows or find a fun hobby to keep yourself busy throughout the day.


Method 4: Keep yourself accountable

Make sure you’re keeping tabs on yourself—draw up a list of all the reasons why you’re quitting, tell your friends to keep the cigarettes away from you, or simply reward yourself for every urge you ignore. Whatever it takes, it’s important to keep yourself accountable when trying to stop smoking. Ultimately, motivation is key on your journey to being smoke-free—if you don’t want to stop, you won’t be able to stop.


Method 5: Steer clear of triggers

We’re not saying you have to lock yourself away until the urge to puff passes, but it might be a good idea to avoid situations that would put you in a difficult position. For instance, if you’re out at a bar rather than running at the park, you may be more likely to be tempted into a ciggy break.

Similarly, if you were a creature of habit when you smoked, you might want to change up your routine. Like, if you always had a cigarette with every morning coffee or on the way to work, switching things up might be an idea. You could try going out for your morning cuppa or taking a new way to work. The idea is to break the associations of your daily routine with smoking until your urges are totally gone.


Why you shouldn’t start vaping instead

Vapes or e-cigarettes may seem like a great alternative to cigarettes, but Dr Lucas warns of their dangers. “Vapes and e-cigarettes can cause irreversible pulmonary fibrosis (read: scarring in the lung tissue that can make breathing more difficult) which leads to oxygen dependence,” says Dr Lucas.

Essentially, you’re just replacing one vice with another. Worse yet, you’re more likely to hit the vape more often than you would a cigarette, defeating the point of quitting in the first place. It doesn’t help that vapes are so convenient and often flavoured with sweet things like ‘mango blast’ or ‘strawberry supreme’!


Essentially, when it comes to quitting nicotine, you’ve got your work cut out for you. But, with the right tools and enough support, you’ll do just fine. Good luck!


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