Stoptober begins as thousands try to stop smoking for 28 days

stoptoberYou may not be aware but today is the first day of the Stoptober challenge, a 28-day challenge aimed at getting as many of the 10 million adults who smoke in Britain to stop smoking for this time period as health experts believe you are five times more likely to stay smokefree if you have successfully managed to stop for 28 days.

One way or another, smoking can and usually does impact all of us. There is a good chance that one or more of your family members smoke, and you are friends with people who smoke. Even if you yourself do not smoke, you could still be impacted by passive smoking. What smokers may not realise is that for each 28 days abstaining from cigarettes for the rest of your life, you can actually save a whole week in life.

Of course, some benefits you may notice in the short-term. Following 48 hours of not smoking, your body will now be free of nicotine and this will boost your sense of taste and smell. After 72 hours, your breathing will be improved and within 9 months of quitting you will probably notice a dramatic reduction in coughing, wheezing and breathing problems.

Last year’s Stoptober challenge saw an incredible 160,000 smokers complete the 28-day challenge and it is hoped that even more will get involved this year. Helping them along the way will be a free Stoptober pack containing support tools to help get through the 28 days, a mobile app available on iPhone and Android smartphones, as well as regular text and email support which will offer tips and advice to keep you focused in reaching your goal.

Stopping smoking can be an incredibly difficult challenge however and unless you have experienced it yourself, it can be hard to understand what it is like to try and give up cigarettes. If you think you may struggle to complete Stoptober, or even completely stop smoking after completing Stoptober, here are some tips to help you through the next month and hopefully beyond:

. Understand your reasons for quitting

Writing down a list of the reasons why you want to quit smoking may provide the necessary motivation to power through when things get difficult and you find the temptation to smoke is increasing. Who will benefit from you stopping? How much money each week/month will you save? How will your health and appearance benefit? Write down all these positives and know your reasons for quitting smoking – it will drive you on to persevere.

. Social media can connect you to fellow quitters

Facebook and Twitter can provide a useful outlet for describing your trials and tribulations during the next 28 days and reaching out to friends, family and fellow quitters you may not even know, could prove a huge morale-boosting motivation to quit. During last year’s Stoptober challenge, 50,000 people joined the Facebook Stoptober page. That’s like a football stadium full of people all cheering you on to the finish line!

. Stay active

Exercise may not be the first thing you feel like doing whilst trying not to smoke, but there is research to suggest that exercise actually helps to reduce cravings. It is thought that exercise helps the brain to produce chemicals which can suppress cravings. Even if you don’t fancy joining a gym just yet, try walking the dog or going for a brisk walk around the block, or just playing badminton perhaps with a friend.

. Get rid of cigarettes and other tobacco products from your home, car and work place.

If you don’t want the temptation there to smoke and want a feeling of liberation, then throw away all your packets of cigarettes. This means keeping absolutely no ‘emergency’ packs on standby! Next, bin any lighters, ashtrays, and matches you have cluttering up your house, car, or at work as you don’t need reminding of the habit you are benefitting from stopping. Then vigorously wash anything that still has the disgusting odour of cigarettes on it, whether this be clothes, curtains, furniture, bedding, etc.

. Reward yourself

Keep a jar handy and all the money you would usually spend (waste) on cigarettes can be put into the jar. Then at the end of the month you can treat yourself to something nice such as clothes, new shoes, or even more…depending on how many cigarettes you were previously buying!

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