News & Media

24 May 2019

Seven steps to stopping the smokes

As a smoker, you might have endured years of listening to why relatives, friends or health professionals think you should quit, and in contrast a heap of stories from current smokers about their failed attempts. None of this really helps until you can figure out for yourself what drives you to smoke and why you want to stop.

Cigarette on ashtray

We’ve asked our respiratory educator, Karyn Thomas, for her top tips on how to quit smoking once you’ve decided you’re ready.

Know WHY you want to quit smoking

There are the obvious health benefits, like increased fitness and improved breathing, and then there’s all the $$ you save, but why do YOU want to quit? What is it about quitting that’s important to you? Once you can answer that question, it’ll be so much easier to work towards the goal of quitting; knowing something tangible is within reach. Make a list and review it regularly to keep yourself in check.

Challenge yourself

Work out what you like and what you don’t like about smoking. You might be surprised about the honest answers you give yourself.

Understand your level of addiction

Do you light your first cigarette within 30 minutes of waking up? Do you smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day? Have you had cravings and other withdrawal symptoms when you’ve tried to quit before?

It helps to understand your level of nicotine addiction so you can successfully quit. Discuss your answers with your GP in case Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) might be most helpful for you.

Change your routine

If the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning is have a cigarette, force yourself to do something different. Shower, get dressed and eat your breakfast before you light up. By changing your routine, you push your first cigarette to later in the day and before you know it, you’re cutting down on the number of cigarettes you smoke each day!

Make it inconvenient

The more inconvenient it is to get to your cigarettes, the less inclined you’ll be to light up. For example, don’t allow yourself to light up in the car. Store your cigarettes in the boot, so when you’re driving you have to pull over and get out rather than smoking on the go. You might find you’re smoking less and less due to this simple storage swap.

Face the elements

Again, make it inconvenient and less comfy to smoke. As a rule, make smoking an outside-only practice. Battling the heat, cold, rain or wind just to have a cigarette can be a good deterrent.

Use the four Ds!

Manage your cravings with these four Ds:

  • DELAY … for 5 minutes at least; the urge may pass!
  • DEEP BREATH … breathe slowly and deeply to help you relax
  • DISTRACTION … do something else; keep your hands busy
  • DRINK A GLASS OF WATER … take some time out and sip slowly

If you’re ready to stop smoking, there are heaps of resources available and people around you who can help.

Call the Quitline on 13 7848 for support, advice and information. You can also visit www.quit.org.au OR www.quitcoach.org.au 

Our respiratory educator at Latrobe Community Health Service supports smokers to quit. Call 1800 242 696 and ask to speak with the respiratory educator about quitting.