We all know someone who has gone ‘cold turkey’ – they just decided to stop smoking one day and never smoked again. But the reality for many people is that quitting smoking is hard, because nicotine is so addictive. Sometimes it takes lots of tries before you finally quit. Just remember, every quit attempt is bringing you one step closer to that day when you can say “I don’t smoke.”
Stopping smoking has long-term health benefits – greatly reducing your risk of getting lung cancer, or having a heart attack or stroke.
There are immediate benefits too.
Within 20 minutes, your blood pressure, body temperature and pulse will return to normal.
Within eight hours, your smoker’s breath disappears, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops and your oxygen level rises to normal.
Within 24 hours, your chance of a heart attack decreases.
Within three days, your breathing is easier and you can run without wheezing.
Dealing with cravings
Nicotine is one of thousands of chemicals in cigarettes. Nicotine is what keeps you wanting to have another cigarette, and another, and another.
When someone stops smoking it causes withdrawal including irritability, difficulty concentrating, headaches, nausea, constipation or diarrhoea, fatigue, drowsiness, insomnia, anxiety or depressed mood, and increased hunger particularly for sweets.
If you have cravings, remember they do pass, and each craving you get through brings you one set closer to quitting. So remember the 4 Ds:
Delay – Delay acting on the urge to smoke. Don’t open a pack or light a cigarette. After a few minutes, the urge to smoke will pass.
Deep breath – Take a long slow breath in, and breathe out slowly again. Repeat three times.
Drink water – Sip it slowly, holding it in your mouth a little longer to savour the taste.
Do something else – Take your mind off smoking by taking action – put on some music, go for a walk, ring a friend and keep your hands busy.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
Using nicotine patches, gum or lozenges reduces withdrawal symptoms and can double your chances of stopping smoking. They are safe to use, and work by replacing some of the nicotine you usually get from cigarettes or tobacco.
We provide a FREE stop smoking service offering face-to-face support which can be provided in an individual, whanau/family or group setting.
We provide free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to support you on your journey to quit/become smokefree. This includes gum, lozenges and patches. We can also advise you about other non-funded stop smoking medicines available.