May is Anti-Tobacco Campaign month, culminating in World No Tobacco Day on 31 May, and the Independent Community Pharmacy Association (ICPA) is urging all smokers quit this deadly habit.
“However - quitting smoking is probably one of the hardest things anyone can do,” says Jackie Maimin, acting CEO of the ICPA. “Stopping smoking can cause mood swings, headaches, sleep loss, irritability, and cravings for nicotine that can feel almost impossible to ignore.”
“The good news is that research shows that for the first 10 days after stopping smoking smokers will experience 3 smoking induced urges a day each lasting just three minutes. If you can distract yourself for those three minutes each time a craving hits, you are one step closer to having kicked the habit,” says Maimin.
The ICPA provide six ways to distract yourself for those three minutes:
1. Distract with a snack
Reach for a healthy snack such as fruit, nuts, salads and yoghurt. Try not to replace nicotine with sugary or high fat comfort foods though!
2. Take up a hobby
When a craving hits, the worst thing you can do is dwell on it. So distract yourself with a pleasurable hobby or activity such as reading, sewing, gardening or anything that keeps you happily busy.
The good news is that with quitting, your oxygen and energy levels will start to increase. Divert the negative energy from cravings into a positive health benefit by taking in some exercise such as a brief walk, or jog, or cycle outside in the fresh air. Even a stroll around the office or taking the stairs instead of the lift, is a good way to divert that urge while at work.
4. Drink something
Slowly sipping a glass of water can help satisfy a cigarette craving. Water will also help flush the toxins out of your system, especially nicotine, thereby removing this addictive substance from your bloodstream.
By keeping your hands busy, you’re mimicking smoking behaviour, which will help keep any cravings at bay. So “arm” yourself with a stress ball, coin or pencil to twirl – anything that keeps you distracted.
6. Take it one day at a time
When the urge to smoke feels overwhelming tell yourself to wait just three minutes. Chances are, by the time this period has passed, your cravings will have subsided. If they haven’t, add another three minutes. Eventually, it will become hours, then days, then months, until it’s been years since your last cigarette.
The ICPA has joined the World Health Organisation (WHO) in calling on smokers to quit this deadly habit for a period of 24 hours on 31 May – World No Tobacco Day. For more information on how to Stop Smoking visit your local pharmacy or visit the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/loveyoutostop