Few are privy to all of the reasons why people smoke, but most agree that it’s the social nature of the habit that can make it difficult to quit. According to Jane Ling, a primary care pharmacist, only about three to five percent of people can quit cold turkey. But combined with medication and counselling, the rate of success can quadruple. Here are some tips to help you along the way.

1. Make small wins a big deal

Quitting smoking is a journey and it’s important to celebrate the small steps. “People should never feel defeated if they aren’t successful at quitting,” says Ling. “Many people will have several quit attempts and each one will make them stronger. Eventually, it will come together and they will be smoke-free for life.” In the past, it was believed that a person would make about six to seven attempts before quitting, but new research suggests that number could be closer to 20.

2. One size doesn’t fit all

A smoking cessation plan needs to be customized for each person because everyone’s body will respond differently to therapies. There isn’t a one-size-
fits all approach and the chances of success are significantly higher when
someone tries more than just one therapy.

3. Use distractions to your advantage

Understanding the behavioural triggers of smoking, like having a coffee, is just as important as treating the physical addiction. Ling notes that it will take a couple of months to begin to change the behavioural triggers, but stresses the importance of the four Ds — delay, distract, take deep breaths, and drink water
— to find success. If you delay having a cigarette, the urge will likely pass. Distract yourself by doing other tasks and take a deep breath to refocus. Drink water to help flush toxins from your body. It’s not going to be easy, but understanding how your triggers affect you is an important step in gaining control.

4. Explore your options

Nicotine is a highly addictive stimulant and smoking is one of the quickest ways to get it into your system. That’s why nicotine replacement therapies, such as gums and lozenges, aim to slow down the speed of the nicotine delivery so that the addiction can be tapered off over three to six months. It’s estimated that nicotine replacement therapy can increase the chance of smoking cessation by more than 50 percent.