Just keep in mind though that many people have traveled this road and succeeded in becoming smoke free for good. You need to prepare yourself for any challenge; it’s helpful to know what you’re up against.
Here are five common barriers to stop smoking and ways to help overcome them:
1. "It helps me to relax"
Smokers believe that smoking cigarettes helps them to relax. The reality is it revs you up – nicotine is a stimulant. Smoking also increases your heart rate and blood pressure, which in turn has a knock on effect in the stress levels in the body. Some of the relaxation you feel may just come from having a break or taking a few deep breaths so try some of these next time you feel stressed:
- Take a deep breath in and out. Keep your eyes closed and concentrate on your breathing.
- Get some fresh air. Even a 5-minute walk around the block can help you to gain some perspective.
- Talk to a close friend or family member.
2. "I don’t want to put on weight"
Whilst it’s true that some smokers may notice an extra couple of kilos on the scales after quitting, not everyone gains weight. The health benefits from stop smoking would far surpass any possible weight gain. If you are worried about how you may look, just remember that by quitting smoking your skin colour improves and you will develop fewer wrinkles. You will lose those yellow tar stains on your fingers and teeth. You will no longer smell like an ashtray. If you’re still worried about weight gain, have a strategy in place:
- On your old cigarette breaks, use that time to go for a walk with a co-worker or friend.
- Snack smartly. Snacking is the main culprit for weight gain in any situation and smokers often find idle time they need to fill with something. Make sure you have healthy & nutritious snacks to hand.
- Exercise. Not only can exercise reduce cravings and stress but it can also help to undo some of the damage done by smoking.
The best advice is to follow a sensible, low-fat diet, exercise regularly and accept that some weight gain is likely to occur. Focus on quitting as your number one priority and deal with any weight gain later once non-smoking has become firmly established.
3. "I enjoy smoking"
C’mon seriously? A lot of smokers say that smoking gives them pleasure but I’m sure you can think of other ways to pleasure yourself than smoking a cigarette. Once you quit smoking, think how much more you will enjoy better health, more money, more energy, free from addiction and a new self-confidence.
4. "I’m just a social smoker"
This is one of the leading barriers to quitting smoking. Social Smoking is one of the main reasons for several failed attempts. You’ve quit smoking and you’ve been doing well and then you meet with your friends and they offer you a cigarette and you think it’s just one and you start smoking again.
Avoid this barrier to quitting smoking by:
- Telling your friends that you’ve quit smoking, or even better; tell them beforehand that you are quitting.
- Leave the room when they are smoking
- Plan how you are going to respond if you are asked
- If your partner smokes, ask them to smoke outside or not around you.
5. "I don’t know how to quit
We get it, quitting is hard. But good preparation is the key to stop smoking for good. You need to be ready to quit in your own mind and when you are, follow these steps
- Set a Quit Date
- Tell Friends and Family
- Anticipate and Plan for any Challenges that may arise while Quitting.
- Remove Cigarettes, Tobacco and any related Paraphernalia from the House, Car & Work.
- Talk to someone about your options. Hypnotherapy can be an excellent tool or perhaps contact Quitline for other options.
Quitting smoking may seem hard but its not impossible though. Removing these barriers to quitting smoking is the first step of your stop smoking journey. If you can remove these barriers, you will find that quitting smoking is easier than you thought.
For more information about how to quit smoking, please contact the expert contributor.