Stress, worries about weight gain, and concerns about coping with withdrawal are some of the main excuses smokers use as reasons NOT to stub the smokes, according to Quit Victoria. But as 2002 draws to a close, Victorian smokers are being urged to quit the excuses and make quitting cigarettes their number one resolution for New Year.
However Quit Deputy Director Suzie Stillman says New Year's Eve is one of the most difficult times to quit.
'Making a New Year’s Resolution to quit is a good start, however, quitting during the festive season can be very difficult. I’d urge smokers to begin planning their quit attempt, and set a date to quit perhaps when they return to work or in the next few weeks.'
'It’s better to be realistic and set a quit date even if it’s a few weeks away – but it is important not to keep putting it off.'
Ms Stillman says a very common issue Quitline staff hear from smokers trying to quit is that smoking helps them relax or deal with stress.
'The tip for smokers who use cigarettes as a way to relax and unwind when they’re feeling stressed is to look for other ways to relieve their stress, like walking or listening to some relaxing music.'
Ms Stillman says a very common concern for women smokers is the fear they’ll gain weight when they quit.
'Regular exercise and sensible eating while you are quitting is a good way to ensure that weight gain is not an issue.'
Dealing with withdrawal symptoms or cravings is another common concern for smokers, however Ms Stillman says it’s important that smokers remind themselves that cravings are temporary and will pass.
'A simple plan to help deal with the cravings is the Quitline’s '4 D’s method – delay and the urge will pass, deep breathe, do something else to distract yourself and drink water sipping it slowly.'
Ms Stillman says light smokers may convince themselves that they don’t need to quit because they only smoke several cigarettes a day.
'The answer here is that there is NO safe level of smoking, and every cigarette is doing you damage. It’s been estimated that regular smokers lose around 11 minutes off their life with every cigarette they smoke.'
Ms Stillman says whatever the barriers, smokers need to remember that there is help and support available if they want to quit, just by calling the Quitline on 131 848 for the cost of a local call.
'I’d urge any smoker who’s thinking about going smokefree’ in ’03 to call the Quitline for free resources and support.'
'To help smokers who want to quit the excuses - and the cigarettes - we’ve developed a new year quit pack which is free and available simply by calling the Quitline on 131 848. '
The New Year Quit Pack includes a 2003 Quit diary with a year’s supply of quit tips, as well as resources and information about quitting and special giveaways to help handle the difficult times.
Quit Victoria’s tips for a successful quit attempt Call the Quitline on 131 848 and ask for a free New Year’s Quit Pack, or speak to an advisor about your quit attempt A key part of a successful quit attempt is planning – so start planning now by setting a quit date Motivation is important Set a date to quit – it’s important to have a goal to work towards Get your friends and family to support you
Some facts about smoking in Victoria There are about 820,000 smokers aged 18 and over in Victoria Around 3.2 million Australian adults are smokers Around one in five adults are smokers About 150,000 smokers quit each year in Australia About three quarters of smokers have tried to quit at least once
Christmas/New Year festivities can be a real challenge for those trying to quit. Planning and firm resolve can get you through with flying colours.
Good survival tips’ for the festive season include:
- Try not to drink too much alcohol as it can lessen your resolve. Make every second drink a non-alcoholic one.
- If you’re going to parties, plan ahead and take some sugar-free gum or lollies, and something to hold to keep your hands occupied. Don’t be tempted to take along a few cigarettes just in case’.
- Practise saying thanks but I don’t smoke’ in case you’re offered a cigarette.
- Remind yourself why you quit in the first place.
- If you are tempted to have a cigarette, do something else, and remember the 4D’s – Deep breathe, Drink water, Delay and Do something else.
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