As the new year gets started, and we embark on new goals for 2019 , the National Council Against Smoking urges smokers who have given up to resist the urge pick up the habit again.
The National Council Against Smoking provides a telephonic quit line counselling service which helps people to give up smoking. Each January there is a surge in the number of calls from people who want help to give up smoking.
Savera Kalideen, Executive Director of the National Council Against Smoking explains: “It’s often in the December and January period when we are spending time with our loved ones and enjoying festivities that smokers who have given up feel the temptation to smoke. This is because there are people around us and the holiday vibe makes us think it’s okay to temporarily relapse,” she adds.
In South Africa – about 20% of the population – or about 7 million people smoke. “We are there to provide a service for people to stop smoking but we also want to urge those who have managed to break free from smoking to not start again,” says Kalideen.
One of the most important tips that we give people on their journey to being smoke-free is to surround themselves with loved ones who can support them through this journey.
“These are often your closest loved ones who will give you a few motivational words when you’re feeling down or anxious or help distract you when you are in the middle of a craving.
There are a few things you can do to reduce the likelihood of not picking up a cigarette. One of the most important is to have a plan in place when a craving hits.
“This could be something as simple as walking out of the party and getting a breath of fresh air outside. Think of scenarios that you may find yourself in and plan the strategies that you will use to get yourself out of these tricky situations” says Kalideen.
Here’s a few more tips to help you get through a cigarette craving this festive:
Distract yourself: Change your direction. If you’re inside, go outside. If you’re with people, start a new topic of conversation. If you’re alone, call a friend or change the channel on the TV if you’re watching. Remember, it only takes five minutes for a craving to disappear. Before you know it you would have forgotten that you wanted to smoke.
Keep busy: This is particularly true if you’re new on your smoke-free journey. You will need to keep your hands and mouth busy to distract yourself. Eat some nuts, play a game, read a book or plan regular exercise.
Get outside: Being in fresh air will provide your body with an incredible sense of calm if you have tensed up with a smoke craving. If you can, grab a friend to go for a walk.
Plan for special events: If you suspect you may have a craving at a certain time, like a party or a concert, prepare for that situation and think of a strategy to overcome this craving or bypass it. You’ll be surprised how focussing your mind will help you get rid of the craving.
Call the Quitline on 011 720 3145: Call us and one of our quitline councillors will support you to stay away from the smokes this holiday.