We check in with Gary to see how week two of his QUIT journey is going

Gary's quit date has arrived and Dr Jose Ayala, Health Promotion Officer (Tobacco and Smoking Cessation), with the HSE has given him some top tips on
how to kick cigarettes to the curb.

No matter how long you have been smoking there are still great benefits to giving up - from boosting your overall health to your finances.

But giving up isn't easy, with nicotine one of the most addictive substances on the planet.

1. Use nicotine replacements

Dr Jose recommends using nicotine replacement products

"The first tip we would recommend is the use of some sort of replacements, rather than just going cold turkey.

"This will make it easier for you, rather than harder.

"So this will be nicotine replacement therapy like a patch, or gum, or an inhaler. Generally, combo therapy works best for most smokers.

"So using a patch plus something else like the chewing gum, or anything else you can get in the chemist.

"Those things are going to double your chances of being successful when it comes to quitting."

2. Don't go it alone

"Getting behavioural support will also be a big help.

"Coming into one of our face-to-face clinics, or ringing the QUIT line or joining with a group in the community.

Don't think you need to do it by yourself

"There's plenty of information available on Quit.ie to set yourself up with the best chance of quitting."

3. Get prepared

"Prepare yourself, because a lot of the battle is going to be a mindset. It's not all about the patch or nicotine replacement.

"You have to get your mindset right, and preparation will be good.

"That will involve understanding where you're at, weighing up and pros and the cons. What's the benefit to you of quitting?

"But also being honest with yourself. Do you want to quit cigarettes for your health or money or something else?"

4. Set a date

"You're the only one who knows the best day for you. So set a date and just quit, and don't have a single puff afterwards.

Set a date and stick to it

"Because the problem lies after you set a date and aim to quit but then you have one cigarette and you relapse. Make a date, and make a commitment to stop on that date."

5. Identify routine triggers

"You have to look at your routines. So when we look at routines we take stock of when do you have that first one in the morning, when do you have the next one?

"And from there, figuring out what your triggers are. If it's that cup of tea in the morning, you could switch the tea to something.

"It's not for the rest of your life but certainly, for the first couple of weeks, it's vital."

6. Deal with cravings

"We have a technique called the four 'D's. So that's Delay, Distract, Drink water and Deep breathe.

"If you delay, the urge will pass in three to five minutes. That psychological."

7. Exercise

"This leads to another big factor in quitting and that's exercise. It's really important.

Exercising and watching your weight is important


Exercising and watching your weight is important

"And that's for everybody, not just people trying to quit smoking. Certain activities lead themselves better to quitting smoking like swimming."

8. Find your incentive

"Money can be an incentive for a lot of people. You need to use whatever works.

"Current prices you're talking around €90 a week for a 20-a-day smoker - that adds up to €4,700 a year. That can be a great incentive replacement for a lot of people."

9. Watch your weight

"Weight gain is a huge trigger for relapse. Being smart about it and avoid snacking on stuff you know is going to make you put on weight.

"Try and prepare some meals. If you are going to replace cigarettes with food, try and make it healthy snacks."

10. Break the emotional connection

"The deeper part is the whole addiction bit and automatic habit."

"When it comes to addiction it becomes an emotional connection for people. If stress is a big issue then you need to do something about it.

"If it's a practical issue around your work or your job, maybe you need to address that first. If it's just general stress then mindfulness would be another thing I would recommend."

You can get more advice on how to quit smoking and practical help from the stop smoking advisors at Quit. Freephone 1800 201 203 or sign up for a QUIT plan today.

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If you have an idea for an article, story or video that might help someone else quit for good, email your idea to rachel.wright@hse.ie.


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