I think we’re all aware by now that, like swimming in shark-infested waters in a meat dress, nothing good can come from smoking.
Half of all smokers will die as a direct result of their addiction, and the lethal combination of tar, nicotine and tobacco accounts for a quarter of all cancer deaths in the UK each year.
But even though we know it’s bad, that doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to stop. In the UK alone there are there are 10 million of us still smoking, with an average of 3-4 million attempting to stop at any one time.
Quitting Smoking, or Stopping?
One of our main issues with quitting smoking is the word, ‘quit’, itself.
The word quit implies that smoking is something that can be casually thrown away on a whim when the reality is wildly different.
Even if you decide to stop abruptly, which some studies show could be the best thing for long-term cessation, it still takes a lot of strategy, thought and willpower.
And that’s partially because of the way nicotine actually interacts with our brains.
The Science of Nicotine
That’s right, we’re about to drop some knowledge.
We tend to frame the way we think about nicotine the same way we think about most addiction. That, in order to stave of withdrawal symptoms and stay normal, our bodies need to ‘ingest’ it in some form - but nicotine addiction isn’t that simple.
When we smoke cigarettes the part of our brain that makes us do things receives a rapid hit of nicotine, creating an association between smoking and whatever action we were performing at the time.
This new association is what ends up creating the powerful urges that make us need to pick up a cigarette. Whether you usually smoke a cigarette right after a meal, or you’re a weekend warrior after a few pints, nicotine alters your brain to think of these two actions as a whole.
That’s why you get that gnawing feeling to buy a pack of cigarettes every time you have a couple of pints down you. And that’s why, even if you hate smoking, or only have a couple a week, it is so difficult to stop.
But don’t worry, this is by no means irreversible.
How to Quit Smoking
Look, the fact you’re already on an e-commerce vape site is a very positive step.
We’re assuming that you’re here because you’ve heard that we’re a damn good cessation technique. Which, not to big ourselves up, we are - even the NHS thinks so - and we’ll get back to that in a bit.
But simply buying a brand new vape isn’t enough, you need to have a well-constructed plan in place as to how you’re going to deal with those urges when they kick in, and the real drive behind it to enforce it.
Why Vapes Work
Whilst reducing the amount you smoke actually has an extremely small health benefit, evidence has shown that more smokers who do reduce the amount they intake will have stopped for good a year on. And if they do it with another nicotine product, they’re even more likely to stop.
Vapes can contain a small amount of nicotine - which is controllable by you - without burning tobacco, which is what releases the deadly toxins. In fact, vapes are more than 100 times safer than smoking a tobacco cigarette.
Moreover, the more nicotine you get from something that isn’t a cigarette, the weaker the association between smoking and the nicotine hit becomes.
In reality, there are many different tried and tested methods to stop smoking, and you might end up burning through a lot of them before you end up finding the right one for you.
One of the things that we’ve found has helped people to stop over the years, is to talk to people that have managed to actually kick the habit. Acting as a posthumous support system, hearing about the hurdles ex-smokers have faced and the tips and tricks they used to get over them, can really help to reaffirm your resolve to do the same.
So, because we’re nice like that, we’ve rounded up a few ex-smokers and found out the strategies they used to stop for good.
How Did You Quit?
Kimberley Jones, Ex-Smoker of 8 years
“The thing I found most detrimental to quitting smoking for good was that ‘only one more’ mentality. I can’t count on both hands the number of last cigarettes I had. The best thing I did was to tell everyone I was stopping, that way I was held completely accountable, not only by myself but by my friends and family too. It made it way harder to break the fast.”
Mark Daughtrey, Ex-Smoker of 20 years
“My problem was that I always associated smoking with positive experiences, mainly after a meal or worse of all, going out for a drink. Every time I had a pint I’d get the urge for a drink and I was ending up smoking more on one Saturday than the rest of the week put together. What broke it for me was starting to associate smoking negatively. The old elastic band on the wrist trick worked for me - every time I smoked I’d snap the band. A bit sadistic but it worked!”
Andy Bowen, Ex-Smoker of 4 years
“I know I’m still a bit green, but keeping busy was what stopped me from going back to the habit. I actually stopped smoking once before but had a relapse on a lads holiday. What worked this time was having set plans in place every time I got the itch. Even if it was just doodling, or busying myself with work, I made sure to have a contingency plan in place to keep my mind and hands busy.”
Chloe Simmonds, Ex-Smoker of 15 years
“As soon as I made the decision to stop, I literally just attempted everything possible. Nicotine patches and gum, hypnotherapy, I burned through it all in one go and I just kept falling off the bandwagon. I realised that I was not the kind of person who could just give it all up in one go, I lacked the willpower! I found vaping really helped. I could still get a nicotine fix and go and not feel like I was missing out - a lot of my friends still smoke - on a weekend. Gradually I’ve even managed to lower my nicotine levels down.”
Elias Sukkar, Ex-Smoker of 25 years
“Keep at it. Stopping smoking is pretty difficult, but the good thing about quitting smoking is that the more times you attempt to quit, the better you become at it. Each time you try to quit, there is some action or something that makes you fail - whether it be you get drunk, you bum 1 cigarette from a friend, or whatever the reason. Each time you quit and fail, you learn a lesson on what to not do the next time. Eventually, you will succeed.”
If you’d like to learn more about how vaping can help you to quit smoking, don’t hesitate to contact us on 01179 669309.
Or, better yet, if you’re a Bristol local, stop by our store on East Street (BS3) and chat to one of our super friendly team members.
If you’re curious about vaping itself, but don’t know whether you want to commit - we know what you’re like - check out our blog for more guides and articles on the who, what and why of vaping.