It’s the annual campaign that’s been running in England since 2012, with the aim of encouraging smokers to quit.
And the last 7 years have seen some real success. Figures suggest that to date the campaign has helped more than 1 million smokers quit – and quit for good. It remains the biggest mass effort to quit in the country.
We’ve covered Stoptober in a previous blog, talking about the difference quitting smoking can make to your body, even after the first 20 minutes. But this time we’d like to focus on how to approach quitting and the steps you can take to help make the likelihood of quitting for good much more likely.
  1. Throw it all away. By that we mean throw away all your cigarettes. Every last one. This means that should you have a moment where you think “I’ll just have one…” you don’t have any in the house. It might just be enough to mean you don’t follow up on that urge.
  2. Start right at the beginning. Ask yourself why you want to give up smoking. Then write all these reasons down – this helps keep you focused if you feel yourself being tempted further down the line.
  3. Share the good news. Tell as many people as you can that you’re taking this big step to give up. People will be happy to support you, and can also provide valuable distraction in those moments of temptation.
  4. Work out what works for you. If you’ve tried to give up before, then something you did will have worked… for a time. Work out what that was and write it down as part of your plan. Again this can help keep you focused.
  5. Don’t go it alone. There’s a range of support tools available to help keep you on track. Whether that be stop smoking aids such as nicotine replacement therapies (patches, gum or sprays), or even the Stoptober app, take advantage of them as you’re much more likely to be successful at quitting with additional support.
  6. Work out your triggers. There may be a number of reasons why you smoke – when you’re out after work with your colleagues, you’ve had a drink, or after a meal – so be aware of your routine and try to change it so you don’t fall into your old bad habit.
  7. Plan ahead. Look at your diary commitments and work out if there are any events coming up that could trigger your desire to smoke. Big social events, or even stressful work situations, can be enough to set you off so make a plan in advance around the events you’re already aware of.
  8. Distract yourself. Aim to tackle those moments of temptation head on. If they arise then do something else – anything else – to keep you distracted until the moment has passed.
  9. Get physical. Did you know that physical activity can help reduce your cravings? So get out there, find the form of exercise that you most enjoy and get moving!
  10. Share and learn. There are support forums out there that can prove invaluable. You can learn from others about what’s worked for them, get support at moments of weakness when you’re feeling tempted and share your success when you’ve kicked the habit for good.
Yes, it may be part way through October already but it’s not too late – it’s never too late to quit smoking.
Take that step and get involved in the Stoptober campaign today.