Common psychological barriers to quitting
As well as being physically addictive, the dependence is also psychological. Habits such as smoking can be so hard to break because they’re triggered in response to certain cues that people do in their daily lives. For example, the temptation to smoke might come with having a morning coffee, meeting friends in the pub or feeling stressed.
But the good news is that lots of people do successfully quit by addressing the habits and routines that go along with their addiction. There’s also clear evidence to show that combining behavioural support with stop smoking aids (such as e-cigarettes and prescription medication) can greatly increase your chances of success.
Here are 10 science-backed tips to help you kick the habit once and for all.
1. Choose your quit method
You’re much less likely to be able to quit through willpower and motivation alone. Stopping smoking can be more effective if you choose your quit method and then establish a social support network to help you. There are several different options to choose from. For example, joining a local NHS stop smoking service, and using nicotine replacement therapy, such as e-cigarettes, are just a few of the many treatments available.
2. Set a quit date
Decide exactly when you want to stop. Why not pick a date to stop smoking altogether and commit to it? Experts recommend having a goal in place because it gives you something to both work towards and aim for, meaning you can put a plan in place.
3. Establish your social support
Tell friends, family and colleagues that you’re planning to quit and ask for their support. Get social support from healthcare professionals too — like your local stop smoking service. You’re up to four times more likely to stop with their help.
4. Identify your triggers
Cravings are often set off by factors like stress, drinking with friends or seeing other people smoking. Your brain will have made associations with cues in your environment. So working out what your triggers are will help you to know what to avoid. Is it a time of day, a place or an emotion?
5. Manage your environment
One of the best ways to kick a habit is to structure your environment and routine away from this habit. Could you remove all ashtrays, cigarettes and lighters from your house, making it a smoke-free zone?