It is difficult to stop smoking. You will have intense cravings, be irritated, may feel depressed and anxious and may even have slight flu symptoms such as a headache, cough, sore throat and even nausea.
“There is no magic pill,” says Karen Griessel, a social worker at Sanca rehab centre Wedge Gardens, based in Johannesburg.
“With the ban on tobacco products during the national coronavirus lockdown, people have been forced to buy on the black market. These cigarettes are of poor quality and can be over four times more expensive.
“We all know smoking that cigarettes are bad for your health and that there are many harmful additives in smokes. Imagine how much worse these cheap cigarettes are, considering that there are no regulations governing their manufacture.
“Now is the perfect time to try and quit,” says Karen, “and there is a long list of benefits.”
Why you should quit
- To minimise your chances of getting tobacco-related diseases like lung cancer, as well as many other cancers.
- Those around you who inhale your smoke are also at risk.
- Heart disease has been linked to smoking.
- Smokers have become outcasts in public places.
- Financial reasons – do yourself a favour and calculate how much your habit costs you.
- You will benefit from more preferential life insurance costs.
- Studies have shown that non-smokers sleep longer and deeper.
- You will cough less and your post-nasal drip will improve.
- Your hands, mouth, hair and environment will not stink anymore.
- No more yellow fingers or stained teeth.
- You will get sick less often because smoking attacks the immune system and makes you prone to illness.
Tips for quitting
- Stop pattern triggers for three weeks and, as we say in recovery, avoid people, places or things associated with smoking.
- Exercise until you sweat because this will help your body get rid of the nicotine.
- Do not toy with the idea that you can have just one more.
- Rather go cold turkey than cut down.
- Keep your hands busy by doing practical tasks.
- Do not be fearful of getting fat; practise healthy cooking and know that even if you do gain some weight initially, it will stabilise.
- Talk about your challenges because quitting is a mental struggle.
- Practise mindfulness techniques like deep breathing.
- Know that cravings will lessen, so tell yourself: ‘This too shall pass’.
- Find 10 reasons why you want to quit and repeat them morning and night.
- Do not be around smokers.
- Brush your teeth after eating instead of having a smoke.
- Do not drink coffee or alcohol if you associate these with smoking.
- Chew gum when driving if you used to drive and smoke.
- Drink lots of water.
- Get support.