Quit Smoking for New Year

January 9, 2017

New Year, a time when many of us take a cold, hard look at our lives and, more importantly, our vices. A time to make resolutions that will make us healthier or happier in the year ahead.

There are 7.4 billion people on earth of which a staggering 1 billion smoke. Needless to say the resolution in the top 10 each year is the intention to kick the habit and stop smoking for good.

The good news is that if you manage to stop smoking for 28 days you’re five times more likely to stop smoking for good. The bad news is, it’s really hard. Especially the first few days while you try to weather the withdrawal symptoms which makes this particular goal the most difficult of all New Year’s resolutions to keep.

So here are a few interesting numbers to inspire you to keep going.

  1. 8 trillion cigarettes were smoked in 2014.
  2. 8 million smokers in South Africa.
  3. 6 million the approximate number of people tobacco kills each year across the world. About 5.5 million of those are the result of a tobacco related disease while more than 600 000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
  4. 4000 chemicals in tobacco smoke. These include carbon monoxide, arsenic, formaldehyde, cyanide, benzene and more than 50 cancer causing agents.
  5. R38 is the average price of a pack of 20 cigarettes in South Africa in 2016. A 20-a-day smoker spent nearly R14 000 last year on cigarettes alone.

A great tip to help you stop smoking is to keep reminding yourself of the many health benefits of quitting smoking.

According to the American Cancer Society, the sooner people quit smoking, the more they can reduce the risk of acquiring cancer and other diseases. In fact 20 minutes after smoking that last cigarette your heart rate and blood pressure start to drop. After 12 hours, carbon monoxide levels in your bloodstream drop to normal and your breathing becomes easier.

By 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting smoking, your blood circulation improves and lung function increases. By year one, the excess risk of coronary heart disease halves compared to someone who still smokes. By 5 years, the risk of cancer in the mouth, oesophagus, throat and bladder is reduced by half.

After 10 years, the risk of dying from lung cancer is reduced by half and by 15 years, the risk of coronary heart disease is the same as that of a non-smoker’s.

Together with the health benefits there are so many more reasons to quit smoking such as;

  1. Feeling great
  2. Extra money in your pocket
  3. Improved breathing and general fitness
  4. Fresher breath
  5. An improved sense of smell and taste
  6. Less stress and anxiety
  7. Cleaner lungs and a stronger heart

List your own reasons for wanting to quit and keep going back to them during your quit attempt.

There will be times when you feel like you’re about to cave and this is when you need to distract yourself. Here are 5 quick and easy distractions to get you through those inevitable moments of weakness;

  1. Talk to someone – call a friend or relative to get some support
  2. Go for a brisk walk – this will help clear your head and lungs
  3. Stay busy – play a game on your mobile phone
  4. Drink a glass of water or juice – keep yourself occupied for those crucial few minutes
  5. Change scene – just moving to another room can help, or step outside and get some fresh air

Remember that you can expect to experience about 3 to 4 intense cravings for a smoke during the first couple of weeks after you stop smoking but each of those cravings only lasts about 3 minutes and they reduce in number and intensity over time.

You may have unsuccessfully tried to quit smoking many times before, don’t despair – millions of smokers across the country are also wrestling with temptation this month as they too try to put a stop to their smelly addiction once and for all. To help prepare your mind to succeed in maintaining your resolution a very useful tip is to use the analogy of learning a new sport or skill. When you decide to learn a new sport or skill you are bound to slip up and make mistakes, it is part of the learning experience and not a reason to quit.

So, as an example, if you wanted to learn to play the piano or tennis you would probably have to take lessons. It would take time, and you are likely to make mistakes. Successful people know that a slip is not a fall and relapses are common and expected. If you missed a shot during a game of tennis you wouldn’t give up, you would try again. The same should apply to a quit smoking attempt. Learn from your slips or lapses and keep on practicing the new skills until you achieve your goal.

Achieve your goal to stopping smoking this New Year.

Visit www.gosmokefree.co.za or email info@gosmokefree.co.za for more information.

The GoSmokeFree stop smoking service is based on the proven combination smoking cessation programme which includes support, behavioural modification and traditional nicotine replacement therapy such as medical nicotine gum or patches. The programme is available at leading pharmacies across South Africa.

Triple your chance of successfully stopping smoking with the GoSmokeFree smoking cessation programme and make this the year you quit smoking for good. Take back your health and your life from the chains of addiction.

You are worth it!


This article contains opinions and facts and references to other information sources. You should always consult a registered healthcare professional for any personal advice.

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