We know that smoking tobacco-based products containing nicotine bring a raft of health issues. It's no wonder then that so many smokers want to kick the habit into touch. Aside from willpower, how else can you successfully kick the habit?
Smoking was once popular as part of the social scene until, that is, we understood the health implications. To encourage people to quit, there have been many campaigns backed by changes in rules of where you can smoke and not least in the rising cost of cigarettes courtesy of higher tax. Tobacco products are 30% less affordable today than they were in 2007 but quitting is hard.
Aside from the addictive qualities of nicotine in cigarettes, there is also the issue of breaking the routine and habit of smoking. If you are ready to quit, how do you make the move a successful one? Is vaping an alternative?
#1 Getting to grips with your habit
Not everyone has the same smoking habit and so it’s important to understand what yours is. Keeping a diary of when you smoke (and how much) will give you an idea of where the pinch points in your day are.
For example, when you get in from work, do you enjoy five minutes of unwinding time on the back step, cigarette in hand? Or are you a social smoker, enjoying a cigarette or two with friends?
#2 Set a date
This is an important psychological trick that works for some people and that is, setting a date by which you have smoked your last cigarette. It’s a big date, a momentous occasion but you need to be ready for what comes next…
#3 Get your support network in place
Quitting something is never easy. Giving something up that has a tight, addictive hold over you is even tougher. You need to be honest with yourself.
It is the nicotine in tobacco that drives you to your next cigarette, just like caffeine drives some people to drink buckets of coffee daily. When you deny your body the addictive substance, it complains, big time.
Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and their severity will be different for each person. The intense craving for a cigarette, for example, can be all-consuming but it doesn’t last, although it can feel like the longest 20 seconds of your life!
And this is why it’s important to have your support network in place;
- Friends and family – you’re going to be tetchy in the early days and weeks of quitting smoking. You need your friends and family onside to support you in this and considering the huge step you are taking, you’ll find that most, if not all of your mates, will be more than happy to support you.
- Counselling – the NHS is the driver behind many smoking cessation programmes. Your GP can refer you. As part of this programme, you can also have counselling, a way of looking at your smoking habit and why you need and want to change it.
- Apps – we live in a technological age where most of us are attached to our smartphones. There are many quit smoking apps, one of which is Quit Genius. You can tailor it around the responses and reminders that you need to make quitting smoking a success.
#4 Consider alternatives
Many smokers look to replace their smoking habit with an alternative. From becoming a regular gym bunny to taking up crocheting to keep your hands busy, there are many alternatives to smoking.
One is vaping. And here’s the thing, it can be ideal for anyone who wants to kick nicotine out of their daily routine or it can be a viable alternative for a smoker who no longer wants to spend heaps of cash getting their nicotine fix every day. This is because you can choose vaping juice that either contain nicotine or is nicotine-free.
Nicotine-free vaping juice
Opting for nicotine-free means you lose the nicotine addiction you have with cigarettes. When you quit smoking, you’ll still go through the nicotine craving stage of quitting smoking but you will replace the hand-to-mouth movement with a vape rather than a cigarette.
You’ll still have moments where you crave a cigarette. You might not sleep too well in the first few weeks of quitting, you’ll have a headache and generally feel a bit rubbish but it won’t last forever. One day, you’ll have waved your nicotine addiction goodbye and will be enjoying the vaping for the pleasure that it gives.
And because you are not addicted to nicotine-free vaping juice or vaping itself, you may find that your vaping habit is occasional, rather than a ‘must-do at every chance I get’ activity.
With a ton of different flavours, you can satisfy your sweet tooth or even ignite a love for sour, tangy e-liquid flavours to enjoy the experience.
Many smokers also use vaping to reduce slowly their intake of nicotine. There are different strengths of nicotine levels in some vaping juices, so check before you buy. If you don’t fancy the cold-turkey quitting of smoking your last cigarette, this could be the right option for you.
#5 One step at a time
Whether you’ve been smoking for a few months or a heavy smoker for years, your decision to quit smoking is a big one. It might take a few false starts until you get it right, but you will successfully quit the expensive habit that you have grown to hate.
Vaping isn’t for everyone. Not all vapers are ex-smokers but for many people, it has and is the tool they use to stay away from cigarettes and tobacco, enjoying a completely new hobby instead.