Do you have a bad habit that you know is detrimental to your health but you just can’t seem to stop?
That is how many smokers feel when it comes to quitting. It’s often way easier said than done especially due to the constant cravings that you’ll get once you try to quit. However, studies have found that the craving usually lasts around one to three months. Thus, we’ve listed out a few tips that can help you curb this bad habit as told by fellow Malaysians who have managed to quit in less than two months!
1. “I forced myself to set aside the money I’d use to buy cigarettes in a non-liquid investment account”
“I used to be a heavy smoker which meant I was spending over RM500 per month on cigarettes alone! When I was determined to quit, I forced myself to put that RM500 in a non-liquid investment account when I received my salary every month. As a result, I didn’t have enough money to buy cigarettes and I also managed to build up my savings!” – Shahril, 27
One of the worst effects of smoking is the financial damage that it can do. To help stop yourself, why not try to limit your monthly budget by putting your money in a secure account that you can’t access easily.
2. “I politely asked all the smokers I know not to offer me a cigarette or smoke around me”
It can be difficult to quit a bad habit if you’re surrounded by people who do it often. This is why it’s important to be vocal about your journey to quit so that the people around you can support you!
“I have friends and colleagues who still smoke so it can be very triggering to be around them. When I finally decided to quit for good, I announced it to everyone I knew and I (very politely!) asked that they avoid smoking around me or offer me any cigarettes. Thankfully, I was blessed with very supportive people who didn’t mind abiding by my request!” – Jun, 29
3. “I started doing breathing exercises to calm my nerves whenever I had the urge to smoke”
“I struggled a lot with the craving but after a while, I realised that it was mainly just a mental game. So to help with that, I started doing breathing exercises every time I got that ‘urge’ and it has helped me to have better focus and strengthened my will not to give up!” – Remi, 39
Did you know that studies have shown that deep breathing exercises can reduce your craving for cigarettes? A great breathing exercise that you can do is called diaphragmatic breathing which can be done in three easy steps:
- Choose a comfortable position (you can sit or lie down). Place your left hand on your chest, and your right hand on your belly.
- Start inhaling and exhaling slowly. As you breathe, focus on your right hand moving as your belly expands and contracts with each breath. It’s also important to note that if you breathe properly, your left hand should not be moving at all!
- Repeat this process as many times as you wish until your mind is at ease.
4. “I picked up a new favourite exercise to help me stay active and busy”
“Back then I rarely had the time or energy to work out. But after my attempt to quit, I started taking my dog out on walks to distract myself from the craving. And surprisingly, it worked! Ever since then, I’ve made it a habit to take a walk multiple times a week to help me curb this bad habit.” – Leah, 24
Apart from helping to distract you, a new activity or workout routine can also help improve your health and shed off any weight that you might gain in your journey to quit.
5. “I switched to a smoke-free alternative to help me quit the habit altogether”
“I’ve tried to quit ‘cold turkey’ but failed! This time around, I decided to try out e-cigarettes instead because I heard they are less risky than smoking. Of course, I aim to quit for good one day but for now, this alternative can help me reduce my tobacco intake without all the craving.” – Arel, 35
It’s true that quitting ‘cold turkey’ is not effective for most people. Thus, if you’re scared to take that crucial first step towards stopping, you can start by switching to a less-risky alternative, such as e-cigarettes, which can help adult smokers who are having a tough time quitting. In case you’re unsure about e-cigarettes, here’s what you should know:
- Instead of combusting tobacco and producing harmful chemicals, e-cigarettes or vapes only heat up nicotine or flavourings which will produce very few chemicals as compared to smoking.
- There is no secondhand smoking with e-cigarettes as they only release vapour, unlike combustible cigarettes that release smoke and ash.
- Most smoking-related diseases are related to the burning of tobacco, meaning e-cigarette users are less likely to be affected.
- Compared to cigarettes which can cost over RM500 monthly, e-cigarette users would averagely spend around RM150-200 monthly which is a significant saving.
Not only that but e-cigarettes are also affordable and convenient to use, like this new Kardinal Stick Kurve. In fact, it even comes with a ‘Health Alert System’ to notify users when they’ve taken 12 puffs within five minutes so that they’d know when to stop or slow down.
However, do note that e-cigarettes are not completely risk-free and the best option for all adult smokers is of course to stop smoking altogether. But if you need a little help, you can look into e-cigarettes as an alternative to ease your quitting journey. So, don’t be scared to take that first step and start quitting today, okay!
Are you trying to quit or have you successfully quit smoking before? Share with us any other tips below!
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