Stoptober is an annual event that encourages smokers to quit for 31 days in October to increase their chance of quitting smoking for good.
The concept is simple - you challenge yourself to give up smoking for 31 days starting 1 October.
Even so, quitting smoking remains a challenging task. If you are someone who - like most smokers, has attempted to quit in the past but fell back into the old habit, you know that having a strategy can make a big difference. So here are a few tips to help you tackle the challenge this October.
Understand why quitting is difficult
Quitting smoking means breaking the cycle of addiction and essentially rewiring the brain to stop craving nicotine. To be successful, smokers who want to quit must have a plan to beat cravings and potential triggers.
How long it takes to get over cravings
When you first quit smoking, it can be difficult to resist the urge to smoke when a cigarette craving hits. After quitting smoking, it takes between 3 and 4 days for nicotine to leave your body entirely. That's why the first few days after you quit smoking can be among the toughest: it's when cravings first begin and are at their most intense. After that, you can expect each craving to last about 10 to 20 minutes and then pass. Typically, cravings are strongest in people who smoked the longest.
Luckily, these initial cravings are short-lived. While it will take your brain chemistry up to three months to return to normal, cravings usually begin to lessen in strength and frequency after the first week and are generally entirely gone in one to three months.
Although cold turkey works for some people, Nicotine Replacement Therapy can help manage cravings and improve your chances of successfully quitting.
A quitting buddy can increase your chances of successfully quitting
During challenging times, it can be helpful to have others by our side. The journey to quitting smoking can be tough, but as the saying goes: a problem shared is a problem halved. It is more likely that your quit buddy will understand what you are going through than your non-smoking partner or friends. Your buddy will also experience the same emotions, cravings, and difficulties as you, so you'll have support when you need it.
When you quit with a friend, you're helping someone else reach their non-smoking goal, which can be a great motivational tool.
When a friend stops smoking, you're less likely to associate them with smoking, and you will stop tempting each other to smoke again.
Prepare to Quit
As the saying goes: fail to prepare or prepare to fail. Here are 4 simple steps you can take once you decide to quit.
1. Pick a date
Pick a date to Quit smoking and add it to your calendar. Setting a quit date gives you time to prepare and eliminate cigarettes and ashtrays in your house and car. It also helps you get your head around quitting, and taking charge of your quit attempt feels good.
2. Find your 'why'
Why have you decided to quit? Whether for your health, to save money or for your family, have clear in mind why you want to make a change and for whom it will help you stay determined and stick to the process.
3. Work out your triggers
Think about when it is that you crave cigarettes the most. For some can be a particular time of the day, like morning or evening. For some, cravings can be triggered by stressful situations or social events. Once you know your triggers, you can be ready to handle anything that comes your way.
4. Choose a quitting method
Once you have worked out your reasons for quitting, the next step is to choose a method. It's the best way to ensure you have the tools and resources you need to quit for good. Find a tailored approach that works for you.
How to Join the Stoptober challenge this year
Deciding to quit is the first step toward a smoke-free life. Follow the 4-step guide to get started and give yourself the best chance to succeed. Committing to the 31 days of the challenge will take you through the hardest part of the cravings and breaking of the habit, and you might find that at the end of Stoptober, you are on the right track to carry on with your quit smoking journey.
Download a quitting App
There are many apps out there that can help you track your progress. Looking back on how far you have come will help you through the most challenging time of your journey and help you stick with your program.
Raise money for a good cause
Getting involved in a fundraising campaign for a cause you care about is an excellent way to help motivate you and keep you accountable while contributing to a good cause. Getting involved with a charity or organisation fighting the effects of smoking can help you stay connected with your quit smoking challange.
How Quit Hero can help support you this Stoptober.
Quit Hero supports smokers ready to quit across the country.
If you have previously tried to quit smoking with first-line treatments but have failed, get in contact with our medical team and find out whether Quit Hero is the right choice for you.
If you are a Quit Hero patient, you can refer a friend or family member who is ready to quit to our medical team.