What to do when you crave a cigarette:
The urgent need to smoke disappears after a few minutes; you just have to wait until it passes or find something to distract you. The cravings are at their most intense three to five days after quitting, thereafter they decrease in number, intensity and duration.
Immediately seek diversionary thoughts or activities:
Drink something (water, fruit juice); never run out of chewing gum, candy or toothpicks (unwrapping a stick of gum replaces the act of lighting a cigarette); eat a piece of fruit; brush your teeth; breathe deeply and slowly several times; change location or activity, leave the place where you are; keep your hands busy (e.g. play with a pencil, write something, etc.); take a walk, do some sport or other physical activity; take a shower and think about something other than cigarettes. Think about something nice (vacations, weekend projects that you can afford with the money you save by not smoking, somewhere you like to go after work …)
Handy tips to quit smoking:
Set a quit date – Set a quit date for as soon as possible to help keep you focused on and motivated to achieving your goal.
Tell your friends, family, and co-workers – Telling those around you that you intend to quit is a good way to surround yourself with support from others, and could even inspire others around you to do the same.
Be prepared for challenges – Quitting smoking isn’t easy. Remember there will be challenges along the way, especially during the critical first few weeks.
Remove tobacco products from your home and environment – If you remove smoking products from your environment, you will be less tempted to pick them up and start again.
Try cognitive behavioural therapies – Positive thinking, yoga, and meditation can help deal with mood changes, insomnia and difficulty concentrating.
Try medication – Be sure to ask a health practitioner about recommended dosage, usage, and potential side effects.
Break the habit – Smoking is tied very closely to other everyday activities and habits such as eating, socialising with friends, or watching television.
Don’t let a relapse discourage you – Don’t worry if you can’t quit on the first try. It might take multiple attempts to kick the habit of smoking, but keep trying.
Seven great tips to avoid putting on weight:
• Eat a varied diet – Expand your food choices. A balanced diet is a varied diet, rich in nutrients but low in calories.
• Fruit and vegetables – Five servings of fruit and/ or vegetables per day, fresh, steamed or as juice (1 portion = 1 handful = 1 glass of juice).
• Eat milk or dairy products every day, fish once or twice a week, meat and eggs moderately – These foods contain important nutrients such as calcium in milk, and iodine, selenium, omega-3 in freshwater fish. Meat contains iron, vitamins B1, B6 and B12. 300–600g of meat per week is sufficient. It is preferable to eat lean meat and low-fat dairy products.
• Use very little fat – Use vegetable oils and fats (e.g. rapeseed oil or soybean oil). Beware of fat in meat, dairy products, butter, pastries, sweets, fast foods and convenience food. Our bodies do not need more than 70–90g of fat per day.
• Use sugar and salt sparingly – only occasionally consume food containing sugar (e.g. glucose syrup). Use herbs and spices creatively, and just a little salt, preferably iodised.
• Drink plenty of water – Water is vital. Drink 1,5 litres per day. Still water is preferable. Only drink alcohol occasionally and in moderation.
• Prepare your food with care – Cook at low temperatures for a short time with little water or fat. This will ensure you preserve the natural taste of food and nutrients.
Four rules to avoid a relapse ...
1. Avoid taking even one drag of a cigarette as this usually leads to a relapse. It is easier to refuse the first cigarette than the second.
2. Avoid places where people smoke. Try to be with non-smokers. Moderate your alcohol consumption, because alcohol can trigger cravings; it lowers self-control and therefore makes you more likely to give in to the temptation.
3. Stay motivated. Make a (written) list of all the benefits of quitting and a list of all the disadvantages of smoking.
4. If you experience withdrawal symptoms, use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), Zyban or Champix.
Here are some of the dangers of smoking:
Going blind – Smoking increases your risk of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 65.
Type 2 Diabetes – Smoking can contribute to type 2 diabetes and increase your risk of complications from the disease.
Erectile dysfunction – Male sexual function is affected when you smoke, as tobacco causes narrowing of blood vessels all over your body, including those that supply blood to the penis.
Ectopic pregnancy – This is a life-threatening reproductive complication in women that is more likely to occur in smokers.
Hip fractures – Smokers lose bone density at a faster rate, say experts, which puts them at risk of breaking bones.
Colorectal cancer – The second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, and smoking is linked to it.
Rheumatoid Arthritis – This chronic inflammatory disease, more common in women, affects the joints in your hands and feet, and smoking is one of the causes.
Cleft lip and cleft palate – Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have babies with orofacial clefts.
Fertility issues – Smoking can affect your ability to conceive.
Gum disease – Smoking can be the reason you lose your teeth as it contributes to periodontitis, a gum infection that destroys the bone that supports the teeth.