This is the time of year when many of us may be considering quitting smoking as part of a resolution to improve their health. So how can you ensure that once you resolve to quit smoking, you stay quit?
Together with a colleague, I’ve been involved in establishing a free, public Smoking Cessation Clinic at Ridge Meadows Hospital – the first of its kind in Fraser Health allowing self-referral. (You can join us for our monthly education and support meetings simply by calling 604-463-1820). In the course of my work with patients, I’ve heard that they’ve found the following techniques useful for long-term success. Why not give some of them a try?
I’ve got all the tips and tricks you need on our latest Fraser Health podcast below. Have a listen to get your quit smoking efforts off on the right track or read on for more advice.
Tips to quit smoking for good
I’ve helped a lot of different people quit through our smoking cessation program and I’ve seen a variety of quit approaches. The things that seem to work best for people are:
- Keep a daily diary or journal while smoking. Tracking when you smoke, time of day you smoke, what you are doing, and what you are feeling can help you devise a plan ahead of time for what you can do instead of smoking that cigarette.
- Plan activities for your first week of being smoke free, keeping yourself occupied. Avoid situations in which you usually smoke.
- Occupy your hands with toothpicks, pencil, rubber bands, stress balls, etc. Have healthy snacks on hand, such as celery or carrots.
- Use your support system and don’t be afraid to ask for help from family, friends, and support groups.
Tips for avoiding smoking relapses
First, it's important not to feel like a failure. Nearly 50 per cent of Canadian smokers report they have tried to quit one or more times in the past year. Relapses are a part of the process. Think of a relapse as learning opportunity rather than failure. Some techniques to avoid relapse include:
- Learn from your lapses. Recognize what happened. Ask, “Can I prevent that situation? What can I do when I am in that situation again? Which options worked and what more do I need to do?”
- Put a plan in place. When a trigger pops up, decide in advance what are you going to do to do instead of smoking? Have a few ideas written down.
- Avoid situations that you used to smoke in. You may need to avoid certain people or places, at least for a while.
- Watch for relapse warning signs, such as thinking: “One cigarette won’t hurt”, ‘I’m sure I can smoke socially now that I’ve quit,” or “Just this once to help me get through this stress.”
Resources to help you go smoke free
Fraser Health offers plenty of smoking cessation and education materials on our website at fraserhealth.ca.
There are also many excellent, free public support programs to assist in your quit efforts, including QuitNow BC to the BC Smoking Cessation Program. And Fraser Health residents trying to quit smoking can also join the Ridge Meadows Hospital quit clinics, which are offered once a month, and are free to join without a referral by calling (604) 463-1820.