Thousands of people attempt to stop smoking every year in the UK, and yet for many it seems like an impossible feat. You may go a few days, or even a few weeks, without picking up a cigarette, and yet the desire to smoke can remain strong.
If you’re struggling to give up cigarettes, you are not alone. Here are some of the reasons why it’s so difficult to stop smoking and a few helpful tips to help you give it up for good
Nicotine is highly addictive
Nicotine is one of the most addictive chemicals on the planet, and its effects impact you both mentally and psychologically. Plus, the more nicotine you’re used to, the more you need to recreate the “buzz” you get when you smoke.
As with most addictions, giving up nicotine can cause a lot of unpleasant side effects including headaches, hunger and anxiety. These effects make it incredibly hard not to give in to your cigarette cravings.
It’s part of your routine
When you smoke, particularly if you’ve been a smoker for a long period of time, it becomes part of your routine – things like having a cup of tea or coffee, going out with friends and taking a break at work feel strange without a cigarette involved.
Because of this, parts of your daily routine will “trigger” you to crave a cigarette as you would usually smoke at this time or during this activity, which makes it difficult to quit. It takes time and resilience to overcome this trigger so you don’t feel that urge to smoke while going about your day normally.
People don’t seek help to stop smoking
There is so much help available to help you to stop smoking, yet many people feel that they need to do it alone or simply aren’t aware of the support available to them. There is no shame in seeking help to give up smoking, and the NHS offers free Stop Smoking Services around the UK to help you do just that.
You can also share your goal to quit smoking with your friends and family so they can help you, or if you aren’t comfortable telling people in person yet, there are plenty of support groups online where you can get support from others who are doing the same.
Nicotine replacement therapy is often overlooked
In addition to this, there are lots of products on the market to help you to stop smoking by providing a small amount of nicotine which eases the side effects of nicotine withdrawal, including patches, gum and inhalers.
These are all types of nicotine replacement therapy, or NRT, a tool to reduce the harm caused by smoking. NRTs provide nicotine without having to smoke cigarettes, which helps to reduce the withdrawal symptoms and cravings often associated with quitting smoking, and can even help you to reduce your nicotine intake.
While stopping smoking is a tough thing to do, it certainly isn’t impossible and understanding why it’s so tricky to give up this addiction is the first step in putting the cigarettes down for good.