One of the best presents you can give your loved ones this Christmas is to stop smoking.
Stopping smoking can be life changing, brings immediate health benefits and can add years to your life. To help smokers take the first step towards quitting this Christmas, Stop Smoking London has pulled together their guide to ‘12 Days of Christmas’ – top tips to help you quit.
The 12-point advice is focused on practical and emotional steps smokers can take to start their stop smoking journey and ensure it ends in success.
Dr Sarah Jackson, a behavioural scientist at University College London (UCL) said: “When you decide to stop smoking it’s important not to try to change too many other things at once. While it’s great to aim high, it’s very difficult to achieve everything at the same time. The best and most successful approach is to focus clearly on your one and most important goal, get a plan in place, making sure you have support, and take it one step at a time.”
Dr Somen Banerjee, Co-Chair and Smoking Cessation Lead of the London Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) said: “Stopping smoking is one of the best gifts you can give your family this Christmas.
“Almost a million people in London smoke, 12% of the city’s population*. We are urging smokers in London to consider quitting this Christmas and set the date for January.
“Your local stop smoking services offer you the best chance of success. You are three times as likely to quit successfully with the support of your local stop smoking service than if you try to stop smoking on your own. Stop Smoking London’s website and helpline are available for those looking to access support.”
Becoming a dad was the kick-start 20-a-day smoker Dan Lescure from London needed to help him stop smoking for good.
“The push finally came for me when we were trying for a baby. We were having some difficulty and my GP told me that there were some tests we could do but that I would need a clear system to make them worthwhile. It would take me three months of no alcohol or cigarettes for my system to be clear.
“It was the reason I needed. I suddenly could see the bigger picture. It worked, and when we did get pregnant, I made up my mind to stop smoking for good. I decided I wanted to be here to see my child grow up. I knew it was up to me to be the role model they would need.
“That was six years ago. I now have two children – one is almost 6 and one is 14 months. There have been times when we’ve been socializing when others have been smoking and I have thought maybe I could have one. But the idea of my older child seeing me smoking is what stops me. I really don’t want him to see that.
“Everyone is different – making the connection between my smoking and us not potentially being able to have a child really hit home for me. My advice to anyone looking to quit would be to find your reason, identify your triggers and make a plan. If you would like support, speak to your GP or contact your local stop smoking service. There is so much help out there for you.”
The 12 days of Christmas – Stop Smoking London’s 12 top tips to help you quit
Find your ‘why’. We know that more than half of smokers want to quit. In London, a third have tried at least one quit attempt in the past year. Having a strong motivating reason will help you remember why you are doing it when your resolve wavers.
Make the decision. And mark it on your calendar. Every journey starts with a single step and for quitters that is the day you say “today is the day” – decide on a date and stick to it.
Get the right support. You are three times as likely to quit successfully with your local stop smoking service than if try to stop smoking on your own.
Don’t lose heart if you have tried before. Take what you learned and use it. Need some additional motivation? Sign-up to Stop Smoking London’s free daily text service. Just enter your details to receive daily tips and encouragement during your stop smoking journey: https://stopsmokinglondon.com/textme
Find your triggers. Do you smoke more when you are bored, drinking alcohol or when you are feeling stressed? Having a strong reason to stop smoking can help you stay motivated when those triggers beckon. Find out more about how to deal with common triggers on the Stop Smoking London website.
Tell the people you care about what you are doing so that they can be there to help and support you. Stopping smoking is a gift to your family. People worry about their loved one smoking, especially children who don’t want to lose their mum, dad or grandparent to a smoking-related illness.
Avoid temptation. Ask friends and family who smoke to not do this in front of you, not to offer you a cigarette or leave any lying about. It can be tempting to smoke so use the festive break as an opportunity to stay strong and avoid smoking.
You might think that smoking helps you cope with stress. Think again. It creates a cycle in which nicotine cravings make you feel MORE anxious as they kick-in. In your early days of quitting you WILL feel more anxious – this will pass and is something your local stop smoking service can help you with.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to stopping smoking – you need to get the right support in place that would work best for you. Call the free Stop Smoking London helpline on 0300 123 1044 to find out how you can get a plan personalised to you.
You don’t need to go ‘cold turkey’. Stop smoking aids are a gift. Tablets from your doctor, Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) like a nicotine inhalator or gum, spray or lozenges or switching to a vape or e-cigarette can all help and will double (and in some cases triple) your chances of stopping for good.
Support from a stop smoking service adviser is available where you live to help you to stop smoking. You are more likely to quit smoking by mixing and matching this personal support with NRT or a prescription medication and e-cigarettes. Visit the Stop Smoking London website to find and contact your nearest service.
Whatever you need, there’s an app for that. From personalised quit plans to motivation boards – find a list of apps and details on how to use them on the Stop Smoking London website https://stopsmokinglondon.com/tools-and-resources/digital-apps