Rehearse Your Lines And Say No To A Cigarette No ratings yet.

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For many smokers, having a cigarette is a social thing. In the past you’ve smoked in bars and restaurants, and in the modern world of the smoking ban in public places smokers will nip outside of the pub together for a smoke and a chat. The trend of ‘smirting’ where fellow smokers get to flirt outside of a bar or nightclub has taken off and the huddle of smokers outside a building in all weathers can even look like fun!

In the workplace, smokers gather in car parks, in smoking huts or just outside of company premises for a nicotine blast, a moan about the bosses and to catch up on the latest gossip. In a former workplace of mine the smoke-room was the place to find out what was going on in the workplace and who was dating who etc.

It’s difficult then to move away from this social circle and some people trying to quit will cut themselves off from smoking friends or even avoid places such as bars and restaurants where temptation might come their way and somebody will say “fancy nipping outside for a cigarette?”This isn’t a long-term strategy and will only make you resent the efforts you are making to quit.

The truth is, to quit properly you need to be able to not smoke in the situations where usually you would. This means saying no when somebody offers you a cigarette or suggests a quick smoke outside. The key to doing this is rehearsing some lines for different situations and to use with different people. At first you might want to keep your efforts to give up to yourself, but further down the line you should begin to tell people that you no longer smoke. Here are a few examples:

“Not just at the moment, I’m really busy and I’m trying to cut down.”

“It’s too cold for me out there right now, you have one and I’ll keep a table for us.”

“No thanks, I’m trying to give up and just having one or two at home.”

“Not for me, I’m ten days without a cigarette now and want to keep going till I hit a month smoke-free” “I’ve given up for Lent.”

“Haven’t you heard? I don’t smoke any more. You should try giving up as well, you’ll save a fortune and feel all the better for it!”

 

 

 *Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.

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Would You Accept Money to Help You Quit Smoking? No ratings yet.

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I see a show of hands at the back over there. Okay fine, everybody is raising their hands. All kidding aside, we might call it an experiment in personal behavioral economics. Many have undertaken very similar research in various forms. Here are some of them that I find to be genuinely very interesting. Read more

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MEP’s Anti-Smoking Vote No ratings yet.

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Anti-tobacco laws targeting young smokers have been tightened by Euro MP's today. The intention is to dissuade youngsters from beginning smoking but there are some measures which do not go as far as was hoped.

A European Commission proposal which would have seen e-cigarettes treated as medicinal products was rejected. This will come as a relief to manufacturers as the move would have placed restrictions on sales. There will be a ban on flavoured cigarettes to be implemented by 2022 but with a delay of five years for menthol. Slim cigarettes escape a ban.

It had been hoped that plain packaging would be voted for but instead there will now be health warnings on 65% of each pack not 30% as is currently the case, rather than the 75% which was proposed. Packaging which is designed to look like lipstick or perfume containers will now be banned. Later on this month the UK House of Lords will debate the possibility of introducing standardised packaging for cigarettes. Research shows that the standard sized packets make health warnings stand out much more.

Italy and the UK now join the other EU states in banning packs of ten cigarettes which are popular among young smokers with the minimum pack size now becoming twenty. Small packs of roll-your-own tobacco will not be banned.

Further proposals include a ban on the terms; light, mild and low tar as these are considered misleading.

There have been mixed reactions among MEPs and although the measures have been broadly welcomed, some have accused MEPs of pandering to the powerful tobacco companies by voting for a watered down version of the proposals. There has also been criticism from the pro-tobacco organisation, Forest which maintains that banning products will merely drive them onto an unregulated black market.

E-cigarettes

E-cigarettes continued to court controversy. Campaigners allege that vaping undermines decades of anti-smoking efforts and could actually encourage children and those who currently don’t smoke to take up the habit which could lead to nicotine addiction and ultimately to smoking tobacco.

It seems that a lack of scientific evidence about the health implications of using e-cigarettes is the reason for the cautious approach to their regulation. Until such time as their effect on public health, harmful or otherwise, can be proven the debate will no doubt continue to rage on.

 

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Idle Hands Are the Tobacco Companies Tools No ratings yet.

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They say that idle hands are the devil’s tools and certainly for long-time smokers, quitting means there are several more minutes, maybe even hours in the day to fill. For those with busy enough lives this may come as a blessing, but for many in the process of giving up cigarettes, keeping mouth, hand and brain occupied can be an important part of the Read more

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Lung Cancer – Facts No ratings yet.

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Lung cancer is the most common fatal cancer worldwide affecting both sexes and the primary cause is smoking – fact. It’s also a medically proven fact that inhaling other people’s second-hand smoke can also cause lung cancer. Children’s lungs are particularly delicate and susceptible to damage from cigarette smoke and the tar and chemicals it contains. Read more

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Go Stoptober! No ratings yet.

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Yesterday in the UK Stoptober 2013 began heralding the nation’s biggest stop-smoking campaign. It is anticipated that more than 180,000 smokers will attempt to quit the habit for the next 28 days at least. It’s a well-known fact that the support of a group can help smokers to quit so surely the knowledge that thousands of smokers are all taking up the same challenge must boost chances of individual success. Statistics show that smokers trying to quit who are members of a supportive group are four times more likely to succeed than those going it alone.

Smokers can sign up on the Stoptober website and claim a free stop-smoking pack which contains a calendar complete with daily tips and advice designed to help participants reach their goal. Regular email or text messages containing encouraging words can be sent direct to quitters throughout the month to help them keep on track. There’s also a Stoptober Twitter feed with a current following of over 13,000.

Benefits of quitting

When people quit smoking there’s often the misconception that they’ll be miserable. In actual fact, they tend to suffer less from anxiety and depression after they’ve given up. Giving up smoking is the most important thing you can do to improve your health, both now and in the future even though the withdrawal symptoms you suffer at the beginning of your quitting campaign can make you feel worse.

The body repairs itself very quickly and the minute you stop smoking, the carbon monoxide poison you’ve been inhaling is replaced by lovely, clean oxygen. Consequently, your lung function immediately improves and you have much more energy.

Stoptober quitters’ timeline to better health

October 1st/2nd – your body’s repair work has begun. Carbon monoxide levels fall and mucus is cleared from the lungs. Your chances of suffering a heart attack decrease.

October 3rd – Withdrawal symptoms kick in but your sense of smell improves. Your body is now a nicotine free zone.

October 8th – Your skin is becoming smoother and friends remark that you have a healthy glow and look really well.

October 9th – Your circulatory system is beginning to improve noticeably and your lung function is better.

October 12th – Welcome back your sense of taste!

October 14th – Those tell-tale yellowish stains on your fingers should begin to disappear.

October 16th – Well done! Now your energy levels are beginning to feel boosted. Keep it up!

October 25th – The repair job on your lungs continues and you’ll now notice your exercise tolerance and fitness levels creeping up.

If you want to be a part of Stoptober, check out the website at stoptober.smokefree.nhs.uk.

Good luck!

 

 

 

*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.

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Stoptober – Gimmick Or A Long Term Strategy to Quit Smoking No ratings yet.

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 An estimated 180,000 smokers in the UK have joined the national campaign funded by Public Health England to encourage people to go through 28 days in October without a cigarette. It’s a strategy base around group support, intensive social media campaigning and practical support offered through information packs, text messages, mobile apps and daily emails. Stoptober’s Twitter feed already has over 13,000 followers so there are certainly plenty of other would-be quitters out there to share experiences with.

The Stoptober app is pretty good. It offers daily tips and badges that reward users for each day without a cigarette. It has a motivation function allowing you to carry a picture, video or audio clip around reminding you why you want to quit, a savings calculator to tot up all of the money you’re saving and a help button with content and games to distract you if you feel that you’re about to give into the cravings.

Does Stoptober really work though? The campaign states that over 160,000 UK smokers succeeded in the 28-day challenge last year, but is less forthcoming with data on how many of these successes carried on to quit for good – or for the last twelve months at least. My own view is that whilst quitting for 28 days certainly won’t do any harm, the focus on just reaching a set target of days is unhelpful. It’s a bit like giving up drinking for a month in January as a health kick – by 1st January most participants are desperate for a binge drinking session and spend the first few days of February in an alcoholic haze!

That said, I’m giving it a go. Research suggests that people who crack the four week target for going without a cigarette are five times more likely to quit permanently and the National Council for Smoking Cessation and Training argues that moral support is also an effective motivational tool. It’s been a while since I made a concerted effort to stop and it’s a method I haven’t tried before. I’m writing this post after dinner on day two, and it’s so far so good….

 

 

*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.

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The Most Exotic E-Liquid Flavors You Have Got to Try No ratings yet.

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First of all, with regards to the recent proposals concerning international governmental clamor for e-cigarette regulation of sales, I’m all for it. Study it, regulate it, make the companies comply with the requirements and ban it for minors. I totally agree with that. Next up, I am an e-cigarette user for three months now and have had no health problems whatsoever. Finally, I am disclosing that I get paid for any blog post that I make that gets published on the front page. I am a real human being with my own personal opinions and my Read more

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E-Lite Advertising Campaign Receives UK Ban No ratings yet.

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Scandal rocked the advertising industry and threatened to place major obstacles in the way of the newly emerging e-cigarette industry recently when an advertising campaign for E-Lites electronic cigarettes was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK. Read more

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The Power of Plants Can Help You Quit No ratings yet.

Have you ever considered turning to natural herbal remedies to help you quit smoking ? These herbs appear to have a very good success rate, as they work in harmony with your body, so are physically better for you than, for example, nicotine patches or electronic cigarettes. Smoking is so addictive because of all the chemicals in cigarettes – smokers actually become more addicted to those than the tobacco! Generally people smoke due to anxiety, nerves, etc., to calm them down in stressful situations – cigarettes give them a temporary high, which helps to take their mind off the stress. So relaxing the body and mind is very important in being able to quit successfully.

One of the best herbs to use for this purpose is St John’s Wort, which also treats depression and mood swings, as it helps to improve mood and relax body and mind. Another equally beneficial herbal supplement is saffron extract, which boosts serotonin levels in the body, as St John’s Wort does, and in this way is a mood-improver, and also helps with weight loss (so smokers do not need to worry so much about gaining weight after giving up cigarettes). Another herb that has been reported to help cure addiction to nicotine is lobelia. Apparently if you are taking lobelia tobacco will taste bad, which should act as a good deterrent. Lobelia helps reduce withdrawal symptoms and it is chemically similar to nicotine – in fact you can even get it in patches, like the nicotine ones! So definitely worth a try.

There are also two other herbs, catnip and valerian, (incidentally both highly popular with cats,) which can be very beneficial to smokers, as they help to reduce anxiety, and so take the stress out of quitting. So do try this one (and your cat will love it too, if he/she also has a heavy nicotine habit!) Chamomile is worth mentioning, since it is a famously soothing herb, which will help you sleep. Also it’s good to try peppermint, as it is not only calming, but it can also soothe any GI distress which sometimes occur when you stop smoking, as does ginger, marshmallow root and slippery elm.

A spice that is invaluable for boosting the immune system is turmeric, which also helps to rid your body of the carcinogens that come from smoke. Additionally coltsfoot will promote healing in your lungs, allowing toxic substances to be brought up ,and it  promotes regeneration in the tissue. Garlic is also great for boosting your immune system and  also regenerating your lungs. There are also plenty of other lung-healing herbs you can try, like elderberry juice, mullen, astralagus root, eucalyptus, fennel, plantain and a few more (ask at the health food shop). They will help to open up your airways so that you can breathe properly and promote healing

All of these herbs and supplements should be available at your local health food store. I  definitely don't recommend taking all of them in tandem though! Just try some out and see what works for you. They are not cheap usually anyway, and you may think, how can you afford them? Just think of all the money you currently spend on those noxious cigarettes! You could spend that cash on herbs to help you quit instead, and then save the money once you stop taking the herbs! (at least the herbs are not addictive).

 

I hope you enjoyed this blog and your votes and comments are much appreciated.

 

 *Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.

 

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