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The Quit Journey

The journey starts here

Thinking about or deciding to quit

If you’re thinking about stopping smoking but are still not sure it can help to weigh up the benefits of stopping against the potential risks of continuing to smoke.  You can also download and complete the charts in this section to help you work out if you’re ready to stop.

Use this site to find out more and see what support is on offer, or better still, pop in to our annual stop smoking roadshow currently touring locally until March.  The team will be able to:

  • Take you through the support on offer
  • Help work out the best way to quit for you
  • Test the age of your lungs, as well as your carbon monoxide levels
  • Help you set a quit date.

You can also find out how dependent you are on nicotine and see how much you're spending on smoking by using the tools in this section.

Now you've decided to quit Week 1

You’ve decided to change – well done.  Over the next 7 weeks we will be supporting you in your approach to becoming ‘smokefree’. 

Remember, with Greenwich Stop Smoking Service you are 4 times more likely to quit successfully, rather than by will power alone. 

With our support, our advisors can work out with you a plan that is right for you, including any appropriate treatment/nicotine replacement therapy

In these next two weeks it’s time to start getting ready emotionally and practically for your quit date.

Prepare for a tough few days following your quit date.  Many quitters still find this time quite challenging with experienced cravings.  Stay assured that there are ways of dealing with them and most of your withdrawal symptoms will have subsided after the first 4 weeks of stopping.  Take your attempt one day at a time.

Also keep the benefits and health improvements from quitting in your mind.  A visual way to monitor this is through regular carbon monoxide readings which will show your body recovering from your smoking habit over time and be a real motivation boost.  Your advisor should be able to offer you readings throughout your quit journey.  You can read more about this by downloading the information below.

Planning your quit attempt Week 2

Planning for the day you are going to stop is important. Be prepared to make changes in both the way you think and the way you act. Think about:

Removing as many temptations as possible

  • Do not keep any cigarettes
  • Get rid of all smoking reminders such as ashtrays, lighters etc.
  • Schedule a stop day that is stress free as you can make it

Enlisting support from people around you

  • Talk to an ex-smoker. Find out how they stopped and you can see that it is possible
  • Talk to a friend/relative about you stopping and how important it is for you.
  • Buddy up with someone else who wants to stop for mutual support.

Changing your usual routine

  • Drive or walk a different route to work
  • Keep busy, begin a project or hobby you have been putting off
  • Stay in non-smoking areas as much as possible
  • Get outside and take a walk in the fresh air
  • Think about increasing exercise it helps with cravings

Changing the way you think about smoking

  • Recognise the “just one” cigarette can undo all your hard work
  • Don’t worry about tomorrow or next week take one day at a time
  • Remind yourself why you decided to stop and the benefits to you
  • Realise that you are choosing not to smoke. No one is making you

Don't forget, you're four times more likely to quit successfully with local support and we're here to help every step of the way.

Quit Week Week 3

Well done! You’ve made it to quit week! Remember you have been preparing for the last few weeks for this and that you have a plan and support to quit.

At the start, a lot of difficulties will be due to giving up the drug nicotine. You’ll get withdrawal symptoms and the craving or desire to smoke. 

The most important thing to do is to adopt the right mental attitude. Accept that the withdrawal symptoms and cravings are going to trouble you to some extent but that they will gradually go away if you don’t smoke.  

You may feel:

  • A strong urge or desire to smoke at first, this craving will go away if you don’t give in to it
  • Irritable, angry and frustrated and maybe short tempered at times
  • Harder than usual to concentrate and absent minded
  • More depressed or tearful than usual
  • Hungry – your appetite may increase, especially for sweet foods
  • Restless and at “a loose end”
  • It difficult to get to sleep or frequent waking - some will be lucky and have better longer sleep.
  • Dizzy, have a headache or complain of constipation

There is no foolproof way of dealing with these feelings but keeping as busy as you can and altering your daily routine will help.

For example, avoid the pub if you think you will be strongly tempted to smoke there. Wash up and go for a walk after meals rather than sit in front of the TV.

Have a clear plan of the right use of your chosen NRT, Zyban or Champix designed to support you through this period.

You can download and complete the chart in this section to help you work through how to combat the cravings. 

Remember, no withdrawal symptoms will harm you – they are signs that your body is getting rid of all the harmful toxins that have built up in your body while you have been smoking.

You can always get in touch with the service or visit one of our drop-ins if you are struggling too.  

Getting through the cravings Week 4

You’re through the first week of quitting and doing really well!  Sometimes the second week can seem harder than the first but stick at it, and remember to take one day at a time. Just aim to go to bed each night without smoking.

Cheer yourself up by buying something with the money saved from your first week without cigarettes.

It’s important to realise that your health really does improve from the time you put out your last cigarette.

  • Your heart rate will decrease and the blood supply to your hands and feet improves.
  • You may also notice a big improvement in your sense of taste and smell.
  • Your carbon monoxide level will now be the same as any other non-smoker and you should feel much less breathless.

Be wary of pubs and parties. Too much alcohol will increase cravings and reduce your ability to handle these sensibly.  Download and read through the tips on socialising with smokers in this section to help you.

By the end of the third week you may find that the worst of the withdrawal symptoms are over. These may be replaced by some rather confusing emotions. On the one hand you may feel glad to be rid of cigarettes and feeling very proud of your achievement – but at the same time you may have very definite feelings of loss - like losing a friend – is the way people often put it.

This is a clue to the best way managing the experience. Have patience - if you have ever lost a real friend or have been bereaved you will know that only time can help you come to terms with their absence.

The first thing to do when you feel cravings coming on is remember the 4Ds:

  • Delay – delay acting on the urge to smoke. The urge passes in a few minutes. Don’t give in.
  • Deep Breathing – Take two deep breathes. Breathe in slowly and deeply, then breathe out slowly
  • Drink Water – Sip the water slowly and hold it in your mouth a little.
  • Distract – Taking your mind off smoking for even a few minutes can be enough for the cravings to disappear. Focus on the task you’re doing, get up move around or refer back to your list of reasons you quit.

Continuing quit attempt Week 5

Well done for making it to week 5! You’re showing real signs of commitment to quitting. 

Some people develop a cough after stopping smoking. This is harmless and will usually go away in a week or so. It is a sign that your lungs are improving.

You might also notice you also have an increased appetite which is completely normal.  You might want to use this as a reason to start a healthier diet: 

  • Limit or avoid coffee and caffeinated drinks
  • Limit or avoid alcoholic beverages at the beginning
  • Try to drink 8 glasses of water a day to help clean out your system
  • If you need to snack try vegetables, fruit or sugarless gum and treats.

Make sure you’re still seeing your stop smoking advisor so they can continue to support you and monitor your carbon monoxide readings.

Also consider about how you might cope with future situations where you might be tempted to relapse.  You’re now a non-smoker so think about what a non-smoker would do in these situations.

 

Seeing and feeling the benefits Week 6

Quit smoking and you’ll look forward to better health and a healthier bank balance. At this stage you should being seeing some of the other benefits:

Better looking skin, eyes and hair - within days of stopping smoking your hair won’t smell of stale smoke and your skin will be looking brighter as your circulation improves.

Look younger for longer - quitting smoking can help you avoid premature ageing.

Improved fitness - your energy levels will soon soar when you quit smoking, making it easier to move, run for the bus or play sports with your friends. If you would like ideas and free support for getting more active locally visit www.greenwichgetactive.com

A better sense of taste and smell - rediscover the taste of your favourite foods as your taste buds kick in.

More time - it takes about ten minutes to smoke a cigarette, so a ten-a-day smoker can save nearly two hours a day when they quit. Over the course of a year, you can claim back a month of lost time.

Improve self-confidence - many smokers are shocked to find how quickly they get hooked on smoking. Stopping is real achievement and can give you a real boost in confidence and self-esteem.

Whiter teeth - no matter how often you visit the dentist, you’ll find it impossible to maintain white teeth if you smoke.

Download the document in this section to read more about the short and long term benefits of quitting over time. 

Staying off smoking Week 7

Congratulations! You have now quit for 4 weeks!

Hopefully, your old smoking habit has been broken and a new way of living has been established. At this stage, maintaining this change can remain difficult for some time – being constantly vigilant and continuing with support is vital to avoid ‘relapse’.

Here are some things to bear in mind over the coming weeks and months:

Treatments

Keep on taking your treatment to the end of the course (10-12 weeks for NRT). Many people make the mistake of stopping their treatment too soon.

Resisting temptation

  • Watch out for thoughts like ‘I’ll just have one’. It only takes one and you’re back smoking. Remember you always have the “choice”, whether to smoke or not.
  • If you are tempted, remember all the hard work you have put into quitting, and why you wanted to quit in the first place. A really useful technique is to distract yourself with an activity for 5 minutes until the cravings stop; be creative with those activities!
  • Always think about what it will feel like in a month. All general physical withdrawal symptoms tend to disappear after this important period. Remind yourself; it does become easier!

Support

Keep the support going. You may want to meet up informally with other people you’ve been talking to. They may use useful techniques that you could also adopt to help you towards your goal.  Don't forget if you need any further help, we're always here.  Just call 0800 5875833, text QUIT to 60060 or visit any of our local face-to-face services.

Relapse

When people relapse (unable to maintain their behaviour change) their old habits return. This is common and quite normal – personal circumstance change and things happen that can tempt you back to smoking.

If this happens, take time to reflect on the reasons for starting again and when you’re ready start planning to have another go. Remember, you don’t have to do this alone and there is no shame in coming back for further help. There’s lots of different types of support available from our specialist teams and from other people who have managed to quit.

Call our free Stop Smoking hotline on 0800 470 4831
Text 'QUIT' to 60060 or email us at support@greenwichstopsmoking.org.uk