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The Importance of a Support System When Quitting Smoking

When a smoker decides to quit, having a support system can help them succeed. This can include friends and family members, health care providers, a smoking cessation program, counseling, or medications.

However, it is important to remember that a support system may not always help. It is also important to know that relapses are normal when you’re trying to quit.

1. Talk to a Healthcare Provider

Whether you’re trying to quit smoking after cancer treatment, or you’re simply looking to improve your health, a support system is important. It can help keep you on track and give you the confidence you need to succeed.

Your healthcare provider, such as a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, social worker or counselor, can be a great place to start. They are trained to listen to your concerns and provide information on how to stop smoking.

Healthcare providers can also provide you with cessation medications, which are medications that make it easier to quit. These medications can be used along with changes in your behavior to increase your chances of success.

They can also recommend a smoking cessation specialist, which is a special healthcare provider who is trained to help people quit smoking. These specialists may work with you for a set number of weeks and provide counseling sessions to ensure you are successful in quitting.

If you are eligible for Medicare, most sessions are Bulk Billed. These treatments often include brief counseling, as well as TGA-approved drugs that reduce the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.

You can also visit a government approved website that has more information about smoking and how it affects your health. They have some helpful tools to help you quit smoking, including an interactive tool that allows you to take a short quiz.

It’s not easy to stop smoking, but with the right help and the right attitude, you can get past it. Talking to a healthcare provider, a friend or family member, keeping a quit journal and staying active are all things you can do to kick the habit for good.

2. Talk to a Friend or Family Member

Having friends and family members support you in your quit journey is important. It can make the journey easier for you and reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

It can also help you deal with triggers, which are situations that make it more likely for you to smoke again. Examples of these triggers include stressful events, being around other smokers, drinking alcohol, and feeling bored or lonely.

Talking to a friend or family member about your quitting plan can be difficult, but it’s important that you do so. They can be a great source of information and encouragement for you, and they may offer suggestions about ways to quit.

Your friend or family member might need your help to quit, especially if they’re having trouble coping with withdrawal symptoms or are struggling with nicotine addiction. It’s also important for them to know that they can count on you for moral support and encouragement, even when it’s hard.

During the first weeks of quitting, it’s normal for someone to slip up and have a cigarette. If this happens, remind your friend or family member that it can take many tries to become tobacco-free and that they can try again later on.

If your friend or family member does relapse, they might need to talk to you about what happened. This can help them figure out what didn’t work and what they can do differently next time.

It’s also a good idea to avoid letting them know that you think they’re a failure or that you don’t like them for smoking. These comments can hurt your friend or family member and discourage them from seeking the help they need.

3. Make a Plan

Quitting smoking is a complex process that takes time and practice. Most people will have several attempts before they are successful at quitting. For many smokers, a combination of counseling and medication can help them quit.

When you’re ready to quit, make a plan and put it in writing. It will give you a focus and can help you remember why you’re quitting.

For example, you might write down reasons like: lowering your risk for heart disease and lung cancer; improving your appearance; saving money that you can use for other things; or giving you more energy to exercise. You can also add new reasons as you think of them.

Next, pick a quit date that is within the next month or so. This gives you plenty of time to prepare and will help you avoid any temptations along the way.

During this time, remove all reminders of smoking from your home, car, and work. Getting rid of cigarette ashtrays, lighters, and matches is an important part of your quit plan.

It’s also helpful to get away from places that trigger cravings, such as parties or bars. During a craving, resist the urge to light up by doing something else, such as taking a walk or talking on the phone.

If you do slip up, don’t beat yourself up. Most relapses aren’t fatal and can be overcome with the right plan and support.

Tobacco cravings are usually strongest when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, so it may be helpful to find a way to relax and calm yourself instead of turning to cigarettes. Yoga, meditation, relaxation strategies, and deep breathing exercises are all good ways to reduce your stress levels.

4. Keep a Quit Journal

One of the most important things a smoker can do when trying to quit smoking is to have a support system. This may include family members, friends, or other people in their life. Having a strong support network can help you stay motivated to stop smoking, especially when times get tough and temptations are high.

The best way to build a solid support system is by making it clear that you want them to help you quit smoking. It’s important to let them know that you have a goal of quitting and that they can help you reach it, whether by talking about smoking or by not smoking around you.

Having a support system also helps if you need to relapse during the first few weeks after stopping smoking. If you do relapse, it’s best to call someone to talk about the relapse and how you feel about it.

You should also keep a quit journal to track your progress. This will help you remember what was good about your quit and what wasn’t so you can learn from it to improve your chances of success the next time.

In addition, a quit journal can help you identify your triggers and what you need to do to overcome them. You may find that certain events or situations make you want to smoke, for example, if you have a long commute home after work or if you’re having coffee with friends at a restaurant.

When you have a craving for a cigarette, resist the urge by doing something else. For example, you might go for a walk or do some yoga stretches. You could also try a massage or jigsaw puzzle, play a game on your phone, or do some deep breathing exercises.

5. Stay Active

Quitting smoking is an intense and difficult process. Many smokers find it helpful to get a support system in place so they can help them succeed and avoid relapse.

In addition to the support of a family or friend, you may benefit from joining a support group or receiving counseling. Behavioral therapy is one type of counseling that can help you identify and stick to strategies that will help you quit smoking.

You can also use exercise to distract yourself when you are feeling tempted to smoke. Physical activity improves your lung function and blood circulation, reduces the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, and strengthens your muscles. It is important to make exercise a part of your plan to stop smoking.

Getting exercise when you are trying to quit can help you feel more confident about your decision to quit and give you extra energy, even while your withdrawal symptoms are still present. Studies have shown that people who stay active while they are trying to quit smoking tend to be more successful in their attempts to stop.

Another way to prevent cravings is to keep a list of reasons that you want to quit smoking and put it somewhere where you can see it. It can be a list of all the money you will save, the stamina you will gain for your favorite sport or other personal reasons that will encourage you to stay on track.

You can also distract yourself by eating or drinking something sweet, such as a piece of fruit, a glass of milk or a sugar-free candy. Eating or drinking can be a great distraction from your cravings for cigarettes, and it can also help you pass the time until they go away.

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