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Living with Diabetes

How to kick the habit!

I want to quit. What should I do?

Kick the habit!There is no 'single', 'proven', or 'best' method to stop smoking. Some people are able to stop smoking through sheer will-power. Others require support and medications. Whichever way you choose does not matter; it is the end result which is important. Smokers describe numerous methods which help overcome the psychological and physical dependence on cigarettes.  These methods range from chewing gum, holding a cigarette without lighting it, chatting to friends and exercising.

  • Have a chat with your doctor who may be able to help with advice and support
  • set a date to stop smoking. Mark it on your calendar. Do not buy cigarettes to last beyond your quit date.
  • Discard all cigarettes, lighters, ashtrays. 
  • Let your friends and family know about your decision. Ask them not to smoke in your presence or offer you cigarettes. Let your friends who smoke know they cannot smoke in your presence!
  • Keep away from areas where smokers congregate such as pubs. If you see a smoker, walk away.
  • Be conscious of 'comfort eating'. Many smokers snack on crisps and sweets in order to overcome the desire for cigarettes. This leads to weight gain. It is crucially important that people with diabetes avoid excessive weight gain.
  • Keep busy.

What medications are available?

Nicotine is the main addictive substance or drug found in tobacco. Nicotine-based treatments, gum and patches are available which provide the nicotine 'fix' your body craves without your having to smoke. Ask your doctor about using these patches to help wean yourself gradually off the nicotine. This usually takes about 6-8 weeks.

Bupropion which is a prescription drug and not nicotine-based is usually started a week before your quit date.

None of these methods are miracle cures. They only work if you are committed to stopping smoking.

My friends still smoke...

This can be a difficult problem to overcome as being exposed to smokers can seriously test your resolve. Ask your friends not to smoke in your presence.

How to overcome craving for cigarettes

People describe a variety of methods which may not work for everyone! A short list follows:

  • exercise - brisk walking
  • a hot bath
  • chewing gum (sugar free)
  • Taking deep breaths
  • relaxing music
  • Make a list of all your reasons for quitting - read it through regularly

Once I've quit, how do I avoid going back?

Once you have stopped smoking it is important to be conscious of the chances you may 'go back'. Many ex-smokers do so in times of emotional stress. It must be said however, that many people who are totally averse to cigarettes and smokers are themselves ex-smokers.

 

For local help and information contact the Suffolk Stop Smoking Service, tel: 0800 085 6037.

 

Dr Nishan Wijenaike, Consultant Physician
West Suffolk Hospitals Diabetes Service.
October 2002