32 ways to quit smoking: Everything from eating nuts to playing Tetris
Fact: quitting smoking is hard.
But 'vaping' isn't the only way to do it.
Last week, public health chiefs said e-cigarettes should be made available on the NHS to help an entire generation kick the habit within the next 10 years.
It came after the country’s biggest official review of vaping found it is 95% safer thansmoking tobacco – with no more toxins than those already in the air we breathe.
Public Health England even went as far as to say that 76,000 of the 80,000 deaths from smoking every year could be prevented with the help of e-cigarettes.
However, if vaping isn't your thing, there are plenty of other options.
If you're in the process of quitting, or seriously considering stubbing out for good, here are 32 of the more weird and wonderful ways you could manage it:
Set a quit date
“Set your date, but carry on smoking as usual right up to that time,” says John Dicey, of the stop smoking organisation allencarr.com.
“Don’t try to cut down beforehand – that just makes cigarettes seem more precious. Tell friends and family that you’re quitting. It will make it real.”
Different brand & hand
“Most people smoke on autopilot without really taking notice of how it makes them feel,” says Tim Smale, creator of the free stop smoking app The Stop Switch (thestopswitch.co.uk).
“Before you quit, try smoking a different brand with a different hand. Breaking your normal habit will help you focus on the actual act of smoking.
This can help you dispel the myth that smoking makes you feel better, so you realise you are psychologically, not physically addicted.”
“It’s a good idea to stop smoking with a friend and to use this friend as a support system,” says Dr Arun Dhandayudham, of addiction charity WDP (www.wdp.org.uk).
“The better your support system, the better your chance of success.
In addition, the NHS offers excellent support via GP surgeries and pharmacies. They have a variety of tools, from gum to patches.”
Note when you smoke
“Every smoker has triggers through the day that give them the impulse to smoke, based on who they’re with, where they are, what mood they’re in,” says Tim Smale.
“Write these triggers down (perhaps you smoke when you’re having a coffee after a meal, or as soon as you get home from work), so that you’re more prepared to try to block the impulse to smoke.”
Press your ear
Acupuncture has been a great success at helping smokers to quit. Try this DIY technique at home.
Rhiannon Griffiths, a member of the British Acupuncture Council, says: “The Shenmen is one of the five points on the ear that we needle in our smoking cessation sessions.
"Place your finger where the ear joins the head and move it diagonally down and inward to the first dip on the cartilage part of the ear. Pressing this with the nail of your finger has a calming effect when you’re craving a cigarette.”
Change your routine
If you normally have a cig with your bowl of cornflakes, switch to toast for breakfast. If you smoke on the walk to work, change your route.
Changing habits may help you control urges you normally associate with routines.
“Lots of smokers swap a cigarette for an alternative reward, such as a biscuit,” says Tim.
“Big mistake – because three weeks down the line, they’ve put on a stone and convinced themselves it was smoking that kept them slim and so go back to it.
"Instead, drink a glass of water, chew some gum or munch on an apple.”
Drown a cigarettte
“Get a 500ml empty plastic water bottle with a screw top and put an unsmoked cigarette in it, then fill with tap water,” says Tim.
“In a few days you’ll see the water turn brown. Any time you feel you’re missing out on a cigarette, have a smell of the bottle.”
Throw it out...
“Throw out all smoking paraphernalia – cigarettes, lighters and ashtrays,” adds Tim.
“Keeping anything smoking-related is subconsciously telling you that you might at some point need it and can lower your chance of success.”
“Clean your house,” suggests Yusuf Patel, Superdrug pharmacist.
“Wash clothes, upholstery and carpets – anything that smells of smoke. Use pot pourri or scented candles and enjoy fresh surroundings.”
Look at pics of your kids
“We all know the detrimental effects of smoking on our health,” says Yusuf.
“When you get a craving, look at a picture of someone close to you and think of how you would like to spend as much time as possible with them.”
Shell some nuts
“Many people miss the hand-to-mouth action of smoking,” says Yusuf.
“So find something to keep your mouth and hands occupied, such as shelling nuts. Try a small handful of pistachios.”
Playing the video puzzle game Tetris for three minutes can stave off a cigarette craving, according to research from Plymouth University.
The study, published in the scientific journal Appetite, says it helps provide a distraction from a craving, which normally lasts for only a few minutes before passing.
Eat more fruit
“Increase your intake of fresh fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and water,” says Yusuf.
“A Duke University study suggested these all tend to make cigarettes taste horrible.”
Ditch coffee for herbal tea
Nicotine “withdrawal” can make you feel jittery.
“But stimulants like caffeine in coffee can make your anxiety worse,” says Dr Dhandayudham.
What’s more, one study found that coffee actually makes cigarettes taste better!
Hold your breath
“The hit that smokers often describe is the physical effect of a short, sharp intake of nicotine, Tim explains.
But if you do the same thing with fresh air (hold it in your lungs and then breathe really slowly out until you’ve pushed all the air out) you will get a similar effect as pleasure chemicals are released to your brain,” says Tim.
Get a glass jar...
...and use it save all the money that you’re not spending on cigarettes.
Seeing the cash build up before your eyes will help to firm up your resolve. Then you’ll be able to reward yourself.
“Use the money saved from smoking to indulge in a hobby or treat,” suggests Dr Dhandayudham.