Updated 31 August 2020

Sponsored: Be prepared to stop smoking

Are you ready for the challenges that will test your smoke-free life?

There are many good reasons to stop smoking, but actually going without cigarettes is not easy. 1,2

Life’s challenges will test your new smoke-free life. 1,3 Be ready and have a strategy to counteract these challenges. 3,4

Understanding why smoking is addictive
Nicotine in cigarettes triggers dopamine release in your brain and stimulates the ‘desire and reward system’. 1

Nicotine also affects certain areas of the brain, which are involved in learning association. 1 

That is why smoking tobacco has strong links to: 1

  • Situational cues - smoke break, coffee drinking or a drink after work
  • Behavioural cues - reaching for a box of cigarettes
  • Sensory cues - smell and taste
  • Mood cues - stress, anxiety

Prepare yourself to ensure your successful transition to a smoke-free life

Stay motivated
Make a list of why you want to stop smoking. 4 This will help keep you motivated, especially when you get the urge to pick up abox of cigarettes. 4

Here’s a few examples to get you started:

  • Lead a healthier lifestyle 2
  • Live longer 2
  • Improve taste and smell 2
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease 2
  • YOLO*

*You only live once

Expect challenges
Much of the difficulty in stopping smoking is thought to stem from the problems of nicotine withdrawal symptoms, which include: 5,6

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depressed mood
  • Poor concentration
  • Increased appetite
  • Sleep problems
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea

Although these withdrawal symptoms may be unpleasant they are also temporary. 6,7 Symptoms usually start 4 to 24 hoursafter you stop smoking, peak on approximately day 3 and then taper off over the next 3 to 4 weeks. 6

Familiarise yourself with medications that help
Speak to a medical professional about treatment options that are available to assist you to stop smoking. 8

Nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) give you a low dose of nicotine to help relieve the physical withdrawal symptoms, whereas non-nicotine medications act on the nicotine receptors in the brain to reduce cravings and prevent withdrawal symptoms. 7,8  

Ask your doctor or pharmacist about smoking cessation options to help you start a smoke-free life!

1. Muehlig S. Tobacco Addiction. In: Psychiatric Disorders - Trends and Developments. (Ed) Uehara T. [online] 2011 Oct 26 [cited 2020 June 23]. Available from: URL: 2. Cleveland Clinic. Why Should I Quit Smoking? [online] [cited 2020 May 28] Available from:URL: 3. Segan CJ, Borland R, Hannan A, Stillman S. The challenge of embracing a smoke-free lifestyle: a neglectedarea in smoking cessation programs. Health Education Res. 2008 Oct;23(1):1-9. 4. NHS. 10 self-help tips to stop smoking. [online] 2018 Oct 25 [cited 2020 Jun 22]. Available from: URL: 5. Jarvis MJ. ABC of smoking cessation: Why people smoke. BMJ. 2004 Jan;328:277-279. 6. McLaughlin I, Dani JA,De Biasi M. Nicotine Withdrawal. Curr Top Behav Neurosci. 2015 Aug;24:99–123. 7. Jordan CJ, Xi Z-X. Discovery and development of varenicline for smoking cessation. Expert Opin DrugDiscov. 2018 Jul;13(7):671–683. 8. Tonstad S. Smoking cessation: how to advise the patient. Heart. 2009 Oct;95:1635-1640.Breakthroughs that change patients’lives

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