Quitting Smoking Tips:Our top tips to help You Quit
In recovery and what to quit smoking? Read on for Recoverlution’s quitting smoking tips for people in recovery.
Smoking in recovery
“Deal with the crocodile closest to the boat” is a phrase that is often used in recovery circles. It means prioritizing the most vital and urgent issues first, then moving on to the ones that are slightly less pressing (though still important). In recovery from drugs and alcohol, this involves addressing substance addiction first. Next, you can look at other addictions you may have, like quitting smoking.
You only need to look at the area outside a recovery meeting after it has finished to see that smoking in recovery circles is rife. Statistics say that smoking prevalence is up to 4 times higher in people with substance use disorder, and smoking relapse rates are twice as high as in the general population.
People in substance recovery often lament that after spending so much energy getting clean and working hard to maintain their sobriety, they are unable to put down cigarettes. Others see smoking as being one of their last remaining vices, figure that they are already doing well, and have no intention of quitting smoking.
This article speaks to this first group, who already want to quit, but can’t.
Why do so many people in recovery smoke?
There are a few reasons why so many people smoke in recovery. The most important one is that nicotine is addictive. People in recovery, by definition, have addictive personalities and are drawn like a moth to the flame at anything habit-forming.
Another reason is that people in recovery have probably spent a long time living unhealthy lifestyles, where quitting smoking would have been a long way down their list of priorities.
People in recovery are also likely to have spent most of their time around people who had similar lifestyles to them, meaning that their peers would have been smokers too. As the behaviour of the people around you reinforces your behaviour, this would have meant another impediment to quit.
Quitting Smoking Tips
Decide why you want to quit
When stopping drugs and alcohol, it is important to keep in your mind the reasons why you want to quit. These reasons act as motivators to help you to stay stopped.
The same is true with smoking. Here are a few good reasons in case you can’t think of any:
- Not wanting your children to see you smoke. If your children see you smoke, they might think less of you, and it may increase their chances of smoking when they are older. This is a reason that is often cited for ceasing smoking.
- Reduces the risk of illness. Everyone knows that smoking causes illnesses like lung cancer, emphysema, high blood pressure and heart disease. There are few things worse for you than smoking.
- Reduces the chance of erectile dysfunction. Yes, smoking might cause things to stop working. If you are a guy and your sex life is important to you, it might be time to stop.
- Save money. In 2005, the recommended price for a typical pack of cigarettes was £4.82. The average price is now £13.60. The price of smoking has been going up, and will likely continue to do so. If you smoke a pack a day, quitting will save you just shy of £5000 in a year.
- Feel healthier. Low energy, sore throat and a nasty cough are all things you can ditch when you quit. You will also have better lung capacity and cardiovascular function, meaning that you can take part in activities that might have been difficult while you were smoking.
- Improved taste and smell. Quitting allows you to enjoy your food more.
- Look healthier. A while after stopping smoking, you will notice brightness returning to your face and eyes. Shallow wrinkles may also repair themselves too.
Consider Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Quitting “cold turkey” is the quickest way of quitting, but this can prove challenging for some people. If you have tried stopping like this in the past and found it led you back to smoking, consider nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).
NRT helps you to taper off nicotine, meaning withdrawal is more manageable. Studies suggest that using NRT when you quit can double the chances of you staying quit in the long term.
Using NRT can make your chances of success much higher and is therefore one of our top quitting smoking tips.
You can get NRT in:
- Skin patches. There are applied once a day, and deliver a steady dose of nicotine. They come in a variety of different strengths, so you can match the nicotine dosage you receive to how many cigarettes you smoke in a day, and gradually taper down. Come in 21mg, 14mg and 7mg strengths.
- Chewing gum. As with patches, you can select a chewing gum strength that matches your daily nicotine intake. These usually come in 2mg and 4mg.
- Inhalators. A tube that simulates the act of smoking while releasing nicotine. You do not inhale while using an inhalator.
- Lozenges. Help keep your mouth busy so you are not tempted by smoking, and deliver you a fix of nicotine within 5 to 10 minutes.
- Nasal sprays. Similar in size and shape to allergy sprays, these work by inserting the device into your nostril and activating it. This quickly sends nicotine to your bloodstream.
There are a couple of medications that can help you to quit smoking. They are:
- Varenicline (Champix). This medication reduces cravings for nicotine and also blocks the rewarding effects of smoking. Champix is currently not available in the UK or Europe due to problems with the manufacturing process. It is not clear when it will be available again.
- Bupropion (Zyban). Originally used to treat depression, Zyban is now also used to help people who want to quit smoking. Zyban works on the reward centre in the brain, making smoking feel less satisfying.
These medications have been proven to be effective, and are unlikely to lead to a relapse in someone with substance use disorder. You will need to approach your doctor or local smoking cessation team in order to be assessed for your suitability.
If you are concerned about the harmful effects of smoking, e-cigarettes can be a good replacement. They are less harmful than cigarettes, though there is still concern that some vape liquids have harmful chemicals in them.
For most people, e-cigarettes are not a good way to stop an addiction to nicotine, as most vape liquids contain nicotine. Some people find that they actually become more addicted to nicotine when they smoke e-cigarettes, as nicotine levels can be higher with some liquids, and they smoke their e-cigarettes for longer periods of time than a cigarette.
Get support and quitting smoking tips from loved ones
Anyone who has quit substances knows that having the support of those around you can be a big help in quitting. Smoking is no different.
If you tell the people around you that you are going to quit, they can help support you and keep you accountable when you feel like reaching for a cigarette.
Try and find people who will answer a call from you when you feel like you might relapse into smoking.
You can also try speaking with people that you know who have successfully quit smoking before, to find out how they were able to quit smoking.
Start or join a support group
While there are no groups that can help you quit smoking that are as established as AA or NA, you can always start a support group with people around you who want to quit at the same time. You can also create a support group within the Recoverlution platform for like-minded others.
The premise of support groups is similar to AA and NA: it is easier to quit when there are people around you doing the same, who can emphasise your struggle and offer you their unconditional guidance and support.
Get rid of all smoking paraphernalia
There is no need to keep anything to remind you of smoking in the house. When you quit, get rid of anything related to smoking: cigarettes, ashtrays, and lighters. It is also worth giving your house a deep clean, to get rid of any lingering cigarette smells.
When smoking withdrawal symptoms start to bite, exercise can help get you through. Go for a walk, or a run, or a swim, or head down to your local gym to pump some iron. Just getting out of the house may make you feel better and take your mind off smoking, and exercising increases the endorphins in your body, reducing cravings.
12-step principles for quitting smoking tips
If you are a member of a twelve-step program, you may benefit from incorporating the principles that you have already learnt. 12-step concepts you can apply to quit smoking include:
- Powerlessness. Admitting that you are powerless over cigarettes helps you to realize that trying to smoke moderately is simply not an option.
- Asking for help from a higher power. Whatever you decide your higher power is, asking for help can provide you with the energy that you need to stop and stay stopped.
- One day at a time. There is no need to stress about the entire process of putting down the smokes. All you need to focus on is getting through the day ahead without picking up a cigarette.
SMART Recovery for quitting smoking tips
SMART Recovery is a secular and research-based recovery method that uses cognitive behavioural therapy and non-confrontational motivational methods. It has a number of ideas that may help for people quitting.
- Put it in perspective. Try to reframe quitting not as losing something, but as gaining other things. Concentrate on the better smell and taste you will experience, the better health you will be in and the longer life you will lead.
- Deal with cravings rationally. When you are addicted to nicotine and you quit smoking, you will go into withdrawal, but this will only be temporary. Rationalize that those withdrawal symptoms will only last a few days. This too shall pass.
- Use the SMART Recovery toolbox. SMART Recovery provides you with methods, worksheets and exercises so that you can overcome addiction. These can all be applied to quitting smoking.
Don’t beat yourself up if you relapse
While in the past, professionals suggested that people tried to quit 5 to 7 times before it stuck, the real average number may be much higher. A study recently conducted on 1200 people shows that the true average number may be as much as 30.
So if you do relapse, don’t be hard on yourself. While relapse is not essential, it is something that usually happens when people try and quit. It can be used as an important learning curve to try again.
Relapse as a learning process
Think of relapse as a way of learning so that your next attempt will have a greater chance of success. What were the conditions that led to the relapse? How can you change these in the future?
Perhaps you left a few cigarettes lying around as an extra “challenge”. Maybe you didn’t tell the people around you what you were doing so didn’t have the right support. You may have not practised self-care, which led to stress and a related smoking relapse.
Statistics on Quitting Smoking
- Smoking is the number one cause of preventable disease and death in the UK
- 14.7% of adults smoke in the UK
- 6.1% of men and 5.4% of women use e-cigarettes in Great Britain
- 1.99m hospital admissions in England each year are caused by cigarettes
- The global yearly death toll as a result of tobacco use is 7 million. Based on current trends this is expected to be 10 million each year by 2030
- It is estimated by the end of this century, tobacco will have killed 1 billion people
A Final Word on Quitting Smoking Tips
We hope you feel closer to quitting and staying quit after reading our quitting smoking tips. Remember that stopping smoking is more difficult for people who are in recovery from substance addiction, and go easy on yourself. For many people, quitting smoking is a process that involves relapse. It doesn't have to, but it often does.
Surround yourself with a network of people who will support you, who you can call on at any point you are struggling. Create your own support group within our Recoverlution platform. We are here to support your recovery from ALL addictive substances
References for Quitting Smoking Tips:
- Smoking relapse risk is increased among individuals in recovery https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0376871619302091
- Recommended retail price of a typical pack of 20 cigarettes in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2005 to 2017 https://www.statista.com/statistics/414973/cigarette-prices-in-the-united-kingdom/
- Effectiveness and safety of nicotine replacement therapy assisted reduction to stop smoking: a systematic review and meta-analysis https://www.bmj.com/content/338/bmj.b1024
- STOP Study: Effectiveness of Zyban in a Clinical Population https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01015170
- 5 vaping facts you need to know https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/5-truths-you-need-to-know-about-vaping
- JOHNS HOPKINS RESEARCHERS FIND THOUSANDS OF UNKNOWN CHEMICALS IN ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES https://hub.jhu.edu/2021/10/07/vaping-unknown-chemicals/
- Smokers may try to quit 30 times before it sticks https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-smoking-quit-attempts-idUSKCN0Z72PL
- Smoking in the United Kingdom (UK) - statistics & facts https://www.statista.com/topics/7101/smoking-in-the-uk/#dossierContents__outerWrapper