Quitting smoking is one of the hardest things to accomplish. But can a few simple changes make a big difference?

If you vowed to kick the habit in 2017, you’ve made an important decision that could not only improve your health but also prolong your life. Tobacco is the single biggest cause of cancer in the UK, with over a quarter of all cancer-related deaths initially caused by smoking.

Although the benefits of living a smoke-free existence can be a huge incentive for most people, actually staying away from cigarettes is easier said than done. All too often a moment of weakness sees people falling back into their old routine.

Spend time in places where smoking isn’t allowed

One of the easiest ways to stop yourself from smoking is to spend time in places where it’s legally not allowed. Whether that means spending your afternoons in cafes, galleries and museums, or simply sitting in the office during the week, finding spaces where you’re not allowed to smoke is a good way of weaning yourself off the habit during the early stages of trying to give up.

This is also true when you’re out for the evening. Think in advance about whether you are likely to find yourself in an environment where people will be smoking or whether you can find a temptation-free bar or restaurant environment.

Avoid food and drink you associate with smoking

Smoking is something people do habitually, and that means there are probably certain things you associate with it. For some people it’s lunch because that’s when they normally go outside for a cigarette, for others it’s coffee because they usually consume the two together. Try to pick up on what little reminders still linger in your life and take steps to separate yourself from those particular cravings.

For many people, alcohol and smoking go hand in hand. This is particularly dangerous, as alcohol alone has been found to cause mouth and liver cancer, and studies show that together alcohol and smoking are much more detrimental to your health than either of them are alone.

Set yourself goals and rewards

Quitting smoking is a big task to undergo. Breaking it down into smaller goals helps make it seem much more achievable and, in many instances, can be more effective in helping you to kick the habit than trying to go cold turkey. At the start of each week, give yourself a point you want to be at by the end of the week. Examples like ‘cut down to five cigarettes a day’ or ‘make one pack last the week’ work well as realistic goals to aim towards.

And don’t forget to reward yourself when you reach your goal, too! Think of the things you like that aren’t related to smoking, and indulge yourself after a job well done.

Use helplines and services

Sometimes you just need someone to talk to, but discussing quitting smoking with family or friends can be uncomfortable. Helplines are there to give you honest help and support so you feel a little bit less alone in your struggle. In 2014, over half a million people managed to quit smoking through NHS Stop Smoking Services. These services are there for a reason, so don’t ignore them.

Get help from Express Pharmacy

Express Pharmacy offer expert advice and approved treatments to help ease your journey to a cigarette-free life. Champix is an effective nicotine-free medication for reducing cravings and relieving feelings of withdrawal. Our simple online ordering system is quick, discreet and safe.

If you’d like to find out more about the medications we prescribe, use our Live Chat service today.