Coping Skills For Smoking Cessation

Smoking is addictive.

It's hard to stop, but with help and support, you can quit smoking.

Quitting smoking can be one of the most difficult, yet rewarding, things a person can do. Most smokers say they would like to quit, and may have tried at least once. Some are successful the first time, but others try a number of times before they finally give up for good.

It might take time, it can be hard as your body has become dependent on nicotine, but many people have succeeded in giving up smoking. Become one of them by making a quit plan, using these steps:

Going Cold Turkey

Giving up smoking suddenly, with no outside help or support, is known as going 'cold turkey'. People who use this method rely on their own willpower to get them through the cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

While this is a popular method, it's not as successful as using a combination of methods and support.

If you want to try it, you'll have a better chance of success if you:

  • avoid situations that will trigger a desire to smoke

  • distract yourself with new activities

  • get support from family and friends

  • focus on the benefits of not smoking

Gradually Cutting Down

This method involves slowly reducing the number of cigarettes you're smoking until you've quit completely. It's not as effective as quitting completely, but it might be a good place to start if you're not ready to quit right away.

You can cut down by:

  • slowly increasing the time between cigarettes

  • reducing the number of cigarettes in your packet each day

It's still a good idea to set a quit date and work towards that. Read more about cutting down to quit.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

NRT aims to reduce the cravings and withdrawal symptoms that occur when you stop smoking. Used properly, NRT can make a big difference in helping you quit successfully.

Available from pharmacies and some supermarkets, without a prescription, it comes in different forms:

  • patches

  • gum

  • nasal and oral sprays

  • inhalers

  • lozenges or tablets

How does it help?

By providing small, measured doses of nicotine into the bloodstream, you're not getting the harmful chemicals from tobacco smoke. Reducing physical withdrawal symptoms means you can focus on the situations and emotions that can trigger a desire to smoke.

Did you know?

Combining 2 forms of NRT has been shown to work better than using a single method because they work in different ways. For example:

  • a patch releases nicotine slowly, giving you a steady dose of nicotine

  • a gum or spray releases nicotine more quickly, helping deal with sudden cravings

Is it subsidized through the PBS?

Some nicotine patches are available at a reduced price through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for all eligible Australians (including concession card holders). Your doctor will need to give you a prescription so it's best to talk about which products will work best for you.

Prescription Medications

here are other prescription medicines, available through the PBS, that can reduce withdrawal symptoms, such as Bupropion (Zyban) and Varenicline (Champix®). They work by blocking the nicotine receptors in your brain so smoking is less enjoyable.

These medicines are not suitable for everybody, so talk to your doctor or health professional to find out whether they're right for you. There are limits on how many prescriptions you can have in a year, and you may be required to receive support from Quitline or a health professional while you're quitting.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are eligible for extra help through the PBS.

Apps

My QuitBuddy is a free mobile phone app designed to support and encourage you to quit smoking. It lets you set personal goals, track your progress and see how much money you've saved. Alerts and other messages help keep you on track and support is available from the many other people using the app.

The Quit for You – Quit for Two mobile phone app helps pregnant women to quit smoking. While it offers similar features to My QuitBuddy it has also has information about your baby's development to help keep you motivated.

Support Services

Other services you may find helpful include:

  • the Quitline — call 137 848 between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday, to talk to a counsellor or ask for a callback

  • Quit Pack — ask the Quitline for this free pack. It contains useful information including: a book to help you prepare, a guide to choosing the best way for you to quit, and a handy wallet card with tips to cope with cravings

  • QuitCoach — an online tool that asks questions about your smoking habits and lifestyle. Using that information it creates a quit plan tailored for you.

1. What coping methods have you tried to quit smoking?

2. Do you find it harder to quit smoking when you are around others who do? If so, how can you cope around others who smoke?

3. Have you ever tried using prescription medications to assist you in quitting smoking? If so, what have you used? Was it helpful?

(501) 747-2300

1100 North University Ave. STE 108 Little Rock, AR 72207

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©2019 by Christopher Thompson.