Guide: How to survive Christmas when you’re trying to quit smoking
Hint: Avoid cold-turkey if you don't want a nightmare before Christmas
According to the Office of National Statistics, of the people who currently smoke, six in ten (58 percent) stated that they intend to quit smoking, with nearly one in five (19 percent) intending to quit within the next three months. Unfortunately, most people try to quit ‘cold turkey’ using willpower alone, despite this being the least effective method.
Acetium’s own research has shown that nearly two-thirds of smokers (65 percent) would love the gift of quitting smoking this Christmas. However, Christmas can be a pretty stressful period for most people and for those of us trying to quit smoking, it can be a particularly challenging time of year. It’s not surprising therefore that just one in six smokers (17 percent) believe they’d be able to carry on the process of quitting during the Christmas period.
With the run up to Christmas packed with festive activities, parties and inevitable stress, many smokers say they’d put quitting smoking on hold for the Christmas season:
Two-fifths (39 percent) say they’d pause quitting because there’s too many Christmas parties where they’d be tempted to smoke
Two-fifths (39 percent) say they couldn’t get through Christmas with their family without smoking
More than a quarter (28 percent) said they’d start quitting again as a New Year’s resolution
The most effective way to quit
According to Public Health England, nearly 400,000 smokers in England quit successfully in 2018. Public Health England says the best way to quit is with expert help from local stop smoking services together with stop smoking aids. In 2017 to 2018, half (51%) of smokers who got this package of support managed to quit.
So with the right support, there’s every hope you can quit for good. Even over the difficult Christmas period.
Whether you’re already on your quitting journey, or simply considering it, we’ve put together Acetium’s top10 tips to help you navigate your way through a smoke-free Christmas.
1. Make sure you get enough rest
When you’re tired and run-down, your cravings to smoke will feel stronger and your ability to resist them will be weaker. Getting enough sleep at night is vitally important. A power nap during the day will help too!
2. Eat a balanced diet
Christmas is a time of treats such as chocolate and mince pies, but be sure to give your body the fuel it needs to function properly. Eating a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates will help keep you at your best, both physically and mentally.
3. Get some exercise
Exercise of any kind - even just a walk around the local neighbourhood - does wonders for reducing stress and improving circulation. Exercise also releases endorphins, the ‘feel good’ hormone. If the urge to smoke starts to take hold, head out for a brisk walk.
4. Take some deep breaths
Sounds simple, but taking some relaxing, deep breaths can be a quick way to alleviate stress. Slowly breathe in through your nose for a count of three and exhale through your mouth for a count of three. Repeat for a few minutes and you’ll feel more relaxed and less stressed immediately.
5. Get some ‘me’ time
It’s not always easy when life is so busy but make sure you give yourself a bit of time to yourself each day to read a book or watch your favourite TV show. Family and friends will understand if you explain why you need half an hour to just recharge your battery and help you focus on the quitting process properly. Afterall, a smoke-free Christmas is good for everyone!
Enlist some help from Santa’s elves (family and friends!) to get all the different Christmas tasks completed. Most people are happy to help with peeling some potatoes or setting the table if asked. Trying to do everything yourself is a recipe for disaster, bringing on more stress and making you more likely to turn to that cigarette packet.
7. Take things one day at a time
It’s very easy to take on too much at this time of year. Create a to-do-list each day for what you want to accomplish and to keep you and your elves organised. Don't overwhelm yourself with too many things to do each day. Prioritise and decide what needs to be done versus what can wait until you’re less busy. This will help you feel less stressed.
8. Call a Friend
Feeling under pressure? Take a few minutes to call a friend and tell them how you’re feeling. A problem shared is a problem halved. Chances are, you’ll forget your craving to smoke and your spirits will be lifted.
Stopping smoking is a process you have to learn. There are habits and associations you’ve built up over time that need to be changed and new habits learnt in their place. Although Christmas is a busy time that can be stressful for many people, it’s just one of the many parts of giving up that need to be overcome. Imagine how motivated you’re going to feel once you get through it and you’ve done your first Christmas without smoking. You’ll be full of confidence for the new year ahead.
10. Remember why you’re quitting
The reasons why you decided to quit smoking don’t change just because it’s Christmas! If it helps, write yourself a note and stick it to the fridge as a reminder.
Acetium has launched a completely new way to quit smoking, a nicotine-free lozenge that works effectively to help you quit smoking while smoking, enabling you to continue to enjoy the Christmas period and decrease nicotine addiction step-by-step, gradually reducing the pleasure of the smoking experience so that you stop for good.
You can find out more about Acetium at https://www.acetium.co.uk/about-acetium.
You can buy Acetium here https://www.acetium.co.uk/online-store/.