Quit Victoria says the end of the Christmas/New Year holiday period seems to have prompted more Victorians to quit smoking, with calls to the Quitline rising as many people prepared to head back to this week.
Quit Victoria's Executive Director Todd Harper says there was a surge calls to the Quitline over the weekend, coinciding with the end of the holiday period for many Victorians.
Traditionally, calls to the Quitline remain high throughout the month of January, dispelling the myth that the majority of smokers who quit for the New Year do so on New Year's Eve or January 1.
'January is the busiest month of the year for the Quitline advisers, with calls to the Quitline roughly more than double the number in a typical month,' Mr Harper said.
Mr Harper says quitting when returning to work can actually be a better option for smokers than trying to quit on New Year’s Eve.
'Trying to quit when you’re in 'holiday mode’ can be very difficult, and it’s important to set realistic goals. Smokers who plan their quit date to coincide with when they return to work will probably find it easier than giving away the smokes during the festive season when socialising can make quitting very difficult.'
Mr Harper said research shows it’s likely that around 4 out of 10 smokers who quit on New Year’s Eve will have already had a 'slip up’.
'Research shows that around 40% of smokers slip up within 3 days of their quit attempt, and a further 30% slip up within two weeks of trying to quit. However, the good news is that getting some help or support from the Quitline can prevent this.'
His advice for those currently battling their nicotine addiction is to maintain their motivation.
'Anybody who has stayed off cigarettes for a week has shown themselves they’re motivated to quit and they’ve learnt some skills to help deal with temptations – so they’re well on the way to quitting for good.'
'Those who are struggling should remind themselves that they are trying to break a habit, and it can take a while to learn’ to become a non-smoker.'
Mr Harper says New Year’s quitters who have relapsed should not give up on quitting, but should learn from that attempt, and plan another attempt as soon as possible armed with a new understanding of the challenges.
Quit’s advice for smokers struggling with temptation includes:
- Remind yourself of how long you have gone without a cigarette, and calculate how many cigarettes you would have had in that period if you had not quit. This will help you stay motivated when you realise how many cigarettes you have NOT smoked.
- Reward yourself with some of the money you have saved by not smoking.
- If you are experiencing cravings, remember each craving only lasts a few minutes, and use the techniques of delay, deep breathing, drinking water or doing something else to fight them.
- If you feel the urge to smoke remind yourself of why you quit in the first place, and remember the health and financial benefits.
- If you need extra support, call the Quitline on 131 848
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