Another year, an eight turning into nine, and a midway point in January when we start reneging on resolutions. Perhaps it’s down to a lack of resolve, boredom, or unrealistic goals, but whatever the reason, on average our New Year’s resolutions only last 12 days before we’re tearing up the gym membership, getting bang back on booze, and sparking up a cigarette. But wait. Put down that lighter. We shouldn’t be allowing dates and deadlines to dictate how we look after ourselves. Should you have fallen off the tobacco wagon, but still want to quit, then read on; our 5 IDEAL ways to stop smoking.

PUT PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES IN PLACE

It’s a sad truth that so many of us succumb to cigarettes after we’ve had a drink. Our guard is down, our sense of responsibility lifted,  and the act seems almost habitual with a pint in the other hand. A few precautionary measures on a night out can prevent this.

No matter the weather; come rain, snow or blizzard, real smokers will risk the elements to get their nicotine fix, right? However, having to leave the warmth of a pub and stand in the icy cold isn’t really worth it, is it? So leave your coat in the cloakroom or behind the bar so it’s more difficult to simply slip outside. And although this might sound weird, try wrapping a couple of plasters around your smoking fingers, to remind yourself when you reach for a cigarette of your steely resolve before you had a couple. Little things, we know, but they all add up in the fight to give up.

NICOTINE REPLACEMENT

Nicotine withdrawal can be a real downer, making you restless and irritable. Opting for an intake of nicotine without the other harmful toxic chemicals can make kicking the cigs, step-by-step, manageable.

One such way that many have chosen to leave the habit behind is by replacing cigarettes with an electronic alternative, or vape. Studies have suggested that the long-term effects of vaping are far less harmful than smoking cigarettes, as even though nicotine is still present, many of the auxiliary chemicals – such as carbon monoxide – are not. With companies such as VIP creating products that appeal to box new users and converts from smoking, it’s not hard to see why so many are embracing the electronic alternative.

Other nicotine replacements are effective, and more medically approved too. These include gum, nasal spray, lozenges or an inhaler.

FACE THE FACTS

Do you mutter the words “I only smoke when I go out”? to no one in particular, in a vain attempt to justify your ‘occasional’ habit.  Do you think you’re not a ‘real smoker’? Get real. It’s time to face the facts; even if you smoke only occasionally, or ‘give up’ then relapse with the regularity of, well, every night out you go on, then you’re till a smoker.

Moreover, if you think that the odd cigarette with a glass of wine is no big deal, you’re fooling yourself. Every single cigarette you smoke harms your health and puts you at a higher risk of heart disease and cancer than those who don’t smoke. The stats are astounding; researchers from the University of Bristol estimated that over a lifetime, each cigarette takes 11 minutes off your life.

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH NON-SMOKERS

Smoking is so often habitual, and if you don’t have a pack to hand, the likelihood of having a ‘cheeky’ cigarette is so much less. So, it’s simple; hang out with the non-smokers to eliminate the risk of relapsing. Sure, it’s easy to suffer from FOMO. Nope, that’s not ‘fumo’, but fear of missing out’, of course. But weigh up the benefits against what you’re missing (probably some slurring and nostalgia that you’ve been through a thousand times before) and stay away.

Of course, if you’re not up for binning off all your mates just cause they’re partial to a cigarette, then get them on side in your fight against smoking. Tell people that you’re done with it and implore them to execute some tough love if you ask for a ‘drag on a ciggy’ after a few drinks. They’ll probably be glad you’re not ‘blagging fags’ from them and happy to have an excuse to turn you down. Has it really come to this? Well, yes.

AVOID STRESS AND TRIGGERS

Many people smoke when faced with stressful situations, and certain triggers exist which can exacerbate attempts to give up. It’s important, then, to you steer clear of situations which might intensify your urge to smoke. Different people have different triggers, so find what works for you. If you normally have a cigarette after a meal, for example, replace this with a more beneficial habit, such as having like a cup of tea, taking a brisk walk or brushing your teeth.