Stoptober starts today, October 1, and the Public Health England campaign encourages smokers to give up smoking for the entire month of October. The campaign was launched following research which showed that if smokers quit the habit for 28 days, they were more likely to stop smoking for good. Across the past seven years of the campaign, more than one million people have stopped smoking. To get started, there are a range of resources available online on the official Stoptober website here https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/for-your-body/quit-smoking/stoptober/ and LloydsPharmacy has developed a range of resources that you can pick up in-store to help stay motivated on your journey. For those considering taking part in the month-long challenge, or if you are in need of some tips to keep motivated LloydsPharmacy pharmacist Anshu Kaura told Express.co.uk five ways to help you stop smoking.
1. Remove temptations
Ms Kaura said: “One of the first steps you can take when stopping smoking is to throw away your cigarettes, tobacco, and ashtrays alongside any other smoking paraphernalia or items you associate with smoking.
“This will help ensure you’re not tempted.
“If you tend to smoke more when drinking alcohol, try cutting down on your consumption or try and switch to lower alcohol or even non-alcoholic drinks.
“Alternatively, if finishing a meal means having a cigarette, try changing your routine.
“You could read a chapter of your favourite book, catch up on your favourite show or retreat to another area of the house which you don’t associate with smoking.”
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2. Learn more about NRT
Another way to combat the cravings is to try NRT or Nicotine Replacement Therapies.
Ms Kaura said: “NRT Stands for Nicotine Replacement Therapies which can help you stop smoking. These may include patches, chewing gum and mouth sprays.
“NRT products work by slowly releasing nicotine at a low rate into the bloodstream to prevent withdrawal and reduce cravings.
“It has been shown that you are twice as likely to quit smoking using stop smoking medication than going it alone.
“If you’re unsure which NRT is best for you, visit your local LloydsPharmacy and speak to a member of our team for advice.”
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3. Get support
Giving up smoking can be a tricky thing to do, so Ms Kaura advises seeking help both from an expert and from family and friends.
She said: “It is thought that expert help and advice can improve your chances of quitting smoking successfully by four times.
As well as visiting your local LloydsPharmacy to speak to our experts for advice and encouragement, enlist the support of your friends too.
“In addition, if friends or family members want to give up too, suggest to them that you give up together so that you have moral support.
“Apps such as the ‘NHS Smoke Free’ are also a great way to stay motivated, as they include features that can help you calculate how much money you could save whilst tracking how many days you have been smoke-free.”
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4. Stay active
As well as improving your health, staying active can be a way to distract from the nicotine cravings.
Ms Kaura advises: “As well as finding the right NRT that works for you, it is a good idea to be as active as possible whilst on your journey to quitting smoking.
“Exercise can work as a distraction method, as well as releasing endorphins that will boost your mood.
“This can be especially important as irritability can occur in the first stages of quitting smoking.
“Studies have also proven that even a five-minute walk or stretch can help cut cravings as it produces anti-craving chemicals in the brain.”
5. Keep busy
Most of us have a routine, and breaking a habit which is part of this can be tricky.
However, Kaura says: “If you find a certain time of day difficult, try changing your routine, and keeping your hands and mouth busy.
“You could try a new hobby or engage more in Sudoku’s and crosswords to keep the mind and body distracted.
“If you are using NRT, use it as much as you need to keep cravings at bay.”
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