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Quit smoking: 10 scientific tips

24 November, 2014

There are a number of reasons why smoking is bad for you, and the benefits from giving up the cigarettes are huge. Not only will you feel healthier and fitter, you can save money and discover a whole new world of flavour. 

After just 8 hours of being smoke-free, the nicotine and carbon monoxide start to leave your body and your oxygen levels return to normal. After just 24 hours, the mucus and other smoking debris begins to leave your lungs. One year on, you will feel physically stronger, find breathing significantly easier, your risk of coronary heart disease is reduced by half and if you smoked 20 cigarettes a day, you could have saved yourself more than $7,000.

If these benefits have you contemplating quitting, there are a number of scientifically proven ways to give up. Here’s our pick of the best:

1.     Research

Giving up smoking is not too different from preparing for a test. You need to study the benefits, the best way to do it, and how you’re going to proceed. Talk to others who have given up, build a support network and download a specialised app in preparation.

2.     Nicotine replacement therapy

Nicotine patches are a popular choice for those trying to quit, and work by replacing some of the nicotine you would otherwise be getting from smoking tobacco. Alone a patch won’t work, but it allows you the opportunity to focus on the day-to-day activities where smoking is interwoven. Getting your body used to these activities smoke-free is helped along by the reduced cravings offered by the nicotine patch.

Nicotine gum is another option, and offers nicotine under your terms. Each time you have a craving, you can replace it with a square of gum until eventually you no longer need it.

3.     Counselling

There is a lot of behavioural conditioning associated with giving up cigarettes, and a counsellor can help with this process. Look for a counsellor specially trained in smoking cessation, the process of discontinuing tobacco smoke. If one-on-one counselling isn’t for you, you can alternatively seek support from help-lines and web-based counselling.

4.     Making note of cravings

A commonly used method for breaking habits is cognitive therapy, in which a person writes down what they were doing each time they had an urge. This can work well with smoking, and gives you great insight into what activities you associate with cigarettes and the times when cravings are at their strongest. Using this information, you can then alter your activity, allowing your brain to recognise change. You don’t have to forget an activity completely, and a small change such as switching your coffee to tea can be sufficient.

5.     Exercise

Sitting in a chair and waiting for a craving to go away is tough. Cravings can last up to ten minutes, and the more you think about it the more you are likely to cave. Instead, look to do something else when a craving hits, such as exercise. Exercise is quick and easy, and instantly takes your mind off cigarettes. Better yet, before you know it you’ll be super fit and enjoying a much healthier, active lifestyle.

6.     Apps

Apps such as My QuitBuddy are personalised to help you on your journey to becoming smoke-free. Apps can track your progress, send you motivating pictures and messages, offer games to distract, and give you access to support from other quitters.

7.     Notify your friends and family

If you have friends who have given up smoking, enlisting their help can be of huge benefit. Even if you don’t, notifying your friends and family of your goal can keep you on the right track.

8.     Give yourself a reward

Having a personal reason to give up that’s stronger than ‘because it’s the right thing to do’ can push you in the right direction. This could be a new kitchen, a holiday, or the start-up of a hobby that requires a healthier body. You could be saving yourself as much as $150 a week, so treat yourself to something special.

9.     Lifting weights

Keeping weights by your desk or in a place where you usually have a cigarette can be a welcome distraction. If you like to step outdoors during break, don’t deprive yourself. Simply lift weights instead of a cigarette!

10.     E-cigarettes

The benefit of e-cigarettes is that they not only give your hands something to do by replicating the action of breathing in a real cigarette, but they’re a good way of slowly cutting down on your nicotine addiction. They do this by allowing you to choose the liquid solution that best addresses your nicotine needs, which means that as time passes you can slowly reduce the amount of nicotine present in the liquid until there is none left at all.

recent study in the Addiction Journal showed that e-cigarettes are an effective quitting tool, and had an in fact increased the success of those who were trying to quit by 60% in comparison with those who used over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies.

Another way to keep your hands busy if you’re struggling with cravings is to invest in a stress ball, or if you’re at home then try working on a puzzle instead.

At CBHS, we are happy that you are considering quitting smoking. To assist you on this journey, did you know that CBHS will pay benefits that help you during this process?

CBHS understands this journey can be a difficult one, which is why we have benefits that can be paid towards approved quit smoking products, and approved quit smoking courses. Whether you are using patches, gum, sprays or inhalers or participating in approved programs such as Allen Carr Clinic, CBHS will pay 90% of the charge up to $100.00 per person per calendar year for all levels of cover, however, if you hold CBHS Prestige or LiveLife cover you are eligible for 90% of the charge up to $200.00.

Should you hold a hospital level of cover or packaged product, CBHS has a program that may assist you. Smoking is a risk factor of developing a chronic disease. Please contact wellness@cbhs.com.au

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