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Stopping smoking is an incredibly hard thing to do – but it’s worth it. And throughout this month, as part of Stoptober, you can get support from thousands in the same boat.

The NHS launched this idea a few years ago, but it’s by no means exclusive to the UK. Wherever you are, if you can quit smoking for 28 days, you’re more likely to give it up for good.

No one’s saying it’s not tough. So what should you do when you’re struggling to stay smoke-free?

Family and Friends Will Support You To Quit

Your first port of call has to be the people around you. They know you; they know what you’re going through; and, most importantly, they care about you.

Just talk to them. Find encouragement from them.

If you have kids, remember that you’re doing it not solely for your own benefit but also to keep them healthy. Second-hand/passive smoking has been linked with asthma, cancer, lung infections, and Crohn’s disease.

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Health Professionals Offer Anti-Smoking Advice

There are plenty of people out there who are accustomed to soothing your worries about quitting smoking.

The NHS has set up Stop Smoking Services across the UK. It doesn’t matter if you’re seeking support from peers or simply looking for an intimate chat: the NHS can help you either in group sessions or one-to-one.

And it’s really easy to find out where your local service is: just type in your postcode!

What if you’re not in the UK? Health services across the world encourage you to quit smoking, including the US Department of Health and Human Services, and the Australian Government. Companies like Nicorette also formulate 12-week plans for international visitors such as this site for Indian quitters.

What’s more, many pharmacists offer advice and support to anyone taking that big step. Visit your local chemist and see what’s available. Otherwise, your doctor is a safe bet: they’ll be able to particularly stress the health benefits to you and hopefully put it all in relatable terms.

Social Media #Stoptober Hashtag

A force for good and evil! Social networks get a lot of bad press, but one of their advantages is having a community rallying around you. Air your frustrations, your goals, and your triumphs. Include the hashtag #Stoptober and you’ll probably hear from like-minded folk – and you can even encourage people yourself!

Don’t keep it to yourself. Tell people you’re quitting – many people are more likely to stop for good if they know those around them want them to succeed.

Stoptober is on both Facebook and Twitter, sharing interesting videos and articles; this year, they’ve got several comedians backing the campaign, including Andi Osho, Paddy McGuinness, and Al Murray, spreading the message across the Internet, radio and television. It’s especially good to see that their 24,500 followers are a good mix of those in the midst of quitting and those who already have.

The Internet Will Help You Quit

Fingers crossed you’ve already joined the Stoptober service via their website (if not, do so now!). But where to next?

Stoptober Website

There are seemingly-endless websites offering advice to quitters. Here’s a list of five sites to help you quit smoking Quit Smoking By Yourself With These 5 Websites Quit Smoking By Yourself With These 5 Websites Quitting smoking will change your life and could potentially save it too. Unfortunately it's easier said than done. Cigarettes are highly addictive, which is why quitting tends to involve a process rather than just suddenly... Read More – including Wikipedia! – and if that’s not enough for you, here are 10 more sites to kick the smoking addiction 10 Websites To Help You Kick Your Smoking Addiction (and Improve Your Health) 10 Websites To Help You Kick Your Smoking Addiction (and Improve Your Health) Read More which focuses on statistics, dates, and financial motives.

Many sites highlight facts that you need to keep in mind. Here are just a few:

  • Within just 8 hours, the level of Carbon Monoxide in your blood drops, allowing the amount of oxygen to return to normal. The NHS can measure the CO3 in your blood to show you the difference a few hours make. The CO3 is the potentially-fatal waste product that the detector near your boiler identifies.
  • People can tell when you’re a smoker: aside from the lingering smell, the nicotine stains your fingertips and teeth. It also affects collagen in your skin, making you look older. The nicotine stains typically fade when you quit and the resulting increase in nutrients for your skin make your appearance fresher.
  • Urea, a compound found in urine, is added to cigarettes to make them taste better.

Quit Smoking Apps

That handy little gadget is always your pal, and it’s normally there in your pocket when you’re craving a cigarette in a restaurant, at work or at a bus stop.

Stoptober has an app for both iOS and Android, charting your progress, reminding you of your motivations, and even distracting you with games!

But there are further apps for your smartphone Your Smartphone Will Help You Kick The Habit: Quit Smoking With These Apps Your Smartphone Will Help You Kick The Habit: Quit Smoking With These Apps There is nothing easy about quitting smoking. Just like any addiction, it can take over your mind and make it next to impossible to move on with your life and kick the habit. Whether you... Read More that’ll remind you of how well you’re doing whenever you reach a low point.

BONUS TIP: Take A Look At Your Wallet!

Apart from being bad for your health, any addiction eats up your cash. And cigarettes just continue to be more expensive.

Work out how much you spend on cigarettes in an average a week. Look at your wallet or purse. That’s your hard-earned money, still in your possession.

So why not treat yourself? Not all the time; just occasionally, when you need a pick-me-up. Spend those extra funds on good books or grab a DVD box set and catch up with a great TV show. Each time you want to buy a packet of cigarettes, why don’t you put that money aside instead? It all adds up. Eventually, it might just be enough to take you on holiday or buy a new bit of tech.

Memories, after all, are better than wasted hours sucking on a cigarette out in the rain.

What Helped You To Quit Smoking?

Whether you’re going cold turkey, trying nicotine patches or e-cigs The Electronic Cigarette Debate: Are They The Future Of Smoking? The Electronic Cigarette Debate: Are They The Future Of Smoking? If I told you that you could smoke two packs of cigarettes a day and no longer face health risks, would you believe me? Well, that might very well be the case. Read More , giving up is hard. The fact is, you’re not going to stop completely unless you really want to. You have to find the motivation within yourself, whatever that may be. Nonetheless, you need to remember all those behind you. And let’s face it: in the end, it really is worth it.

Which sites or apps did you rely on when quitting smoking?

  1. Joe
    October 12, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Good luck to everyone who will be quitting this month. You can do it, and you'll be all the more healthier for it.

  2. Bruce E
    October 10, 2014 at 7:35 am

    I believe the references in the article to CO3 (carbon trioxide) should be CO (carbon monoxide, the toxic gas that is a result of burning carbon-based fuels where there isn't enough oxygen to produce CO2).

    The entire "it's hard to quit" line is complete bullshit. I smoked for more than 20 years up to 2.5 packs a day. One day, I decided to quit and that was all there was to it. That was more than 10 years ago. Nothing hard about it at all.

    • Philip Bates
      October 12, 2014 at 9:57 am

      Yeah, sorry - you're right; it should be CO, not CO3.

      Well done on quitting. Not everyone finds it that easy though: I know a few who went cold turkey and never smoked again; similarly, I know some who are finding it very very hard, and keep dipping back in.

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