Britain is on a drive to quit smoking, with the government hoping to become a smoke-free nation by 2030.
However, people who have been smoking for years, and even decades, will find it incredibly difficult to kick their habit to the curb and finally stop. That is why these tips on how to quit smoking over the summer could be hugely beneficial.
Why summer is a good time to quit
On the face of it, summer is when you spend more time socialising outdoors, which makes smoking around friends and family actually really easy.
Instead of having to sneak off outside in the freezing cold, you can light up in a beer garden, at a barbecue or while with friends at a fair or festival without having to practise your habit in private.
However, summer is also thought to be a great time to quit smoking. For a start, being outdoors triggers a desire to be healthier more than during other seasons when it seems fine to sit indoors on the sofa.
Lots of people do more exercise, go on walks, eat more fruit and vegetables, and are more fit and energetic when it is sunny outside. Therefore, a smoking habit does not gel well with a new healthier lifestyle.
Those who want to perform better in their exercise will need to improve their lung capacity, while it seems counterproductive to treat your body to lots of vitamins and minerals and intoxicate it with an array of harmful chemicals at the same time.
If you are able to enjoy a summer holiday, you are likely to become more relaxed and less stressed. This gives you the chance to remove cigarettes from your life, as people often use smoking as a stress-reliever.
As Pharmica recognises: “There’s nothing worse than trying to quit during a stress period in your life.”
That is why it is easier to break the habit when you feel more relaxed and at peace.
Break of routine
Going on holiday, spending time with friends, or even enjoying the long evenings gives you the chance to break your normal ‘eat-work-sleep’ lifestyle.
At times when your routine is very fixed, such as during the winter, it is even harder to remove one component of it. However, when you are living a bit more flexibly, it becomes easier to ditch another habit.
Want to look good
A lot of people think more about their looks during the summer months as well, whether that’s because they want to look their best on holiday, they have a wedding coming up, or they are planning to see more friends and family.
Smoking is well-known for changing physical appearance, giving a sunken, dull complexion, yellow teeth, and making you look older than your years. So, people wanting to have glowing skin and healthy eyes on their summer holidays might be tempted to break the habit of a lifetime to achieve this.
Another reason why summer is a good time to quit smoking is sleep. The warm weather can make falling – and staying – asleep harder than usual, and smoking can worsen the problem.
If you want to have a restful sleep, therefore, try giving up cigarettes, and you might find you have much more restful nights, in spite of the heat.
How to make the most of summer to quit
Now you know summer is a good time to ditch cigarettes, the question remains how do you make the most of the opportunity to do so.
Make the decision
The first thing you should do is set your mind on your decision. There’s no point saying you could quit, as you’re likely to cave in as soon as you see someone lighting up at a picnic.
Set your mind on quitting and remind yourself why this is the right choice for you, whether that is for financial, health, or aesthetic reasons.
It is also important to understand what your triggers are, why you want to smoke, and what you might need to replace the habit with in the short-term.
Plan for social events
As summer is a very sociable time, you need to create a plan of action when it comes to meeting up with people, particularly if they are smokers.
Kwit app recommends telling friends you have quit to provide accountability and it reminds them to be more respectful and careful around you.
“Anticipating these events will allow you to prepare yourself physically and psychologically,” it advises, helping you to stick to your guns and resist temptation.
Additionally, if you know alcohol will make it more tempting to smoke, take some booze-free drinks with you, so you can’t blame being intoxicated for slipping up.
Have a distraction plan
It is a good idea to have something to do whenever you feel the temptation to light up. For instance, instead of having a cigarette after dinner, why not go for a walk instead?
Not only does this distract you, but getting some fresh air is great for your mental health.
If you feel something is missing from your mouth or hands, you could pack some healthy snacks to munch on or some fidget toys to play with to keep your hands busy.
Save for a holiday
Staycations are great, but many people still love the thought of relaxing on the beach, sunbathing by the pool or exploring new cultures. If this sounds like you, why not put the money you would’ve spent on cigarettes in a jar every week?
A smoker having 20 cigarettes a day could save £12.61 on average, amounting to £88.27 a week.
This equates to £382.50 a month, so it might only take a month or two before you can afford a foreign summer holiday just by saving on the cost of cigarettes.
Use smoking aids
Smoking is an extremely hard habit to break, so use as many support groups and smoking cessation aids as you can to make the process easier.
The NHS recommends using vape liquids as a way to help stop smoking, as it recognises it is “substantially less harmful” than cigarettes.
There are many reasons why vaping is a good way to quit smoking, including the fact it allows smokers to get their nicotine fix, so they can avoid difficult withdrawal symptoms.
It also allows ex-smokers to continue some of their habits, such as having a ‘smoke’ after meals or while they’re on the phone, and having something to hold in their hands.
By continuing with these practices, they aren’t having to get rid of all their routine in one go, which would make it much harder. Instead, they can concentrate on removing the most dangerous part of smoking first – the tobacco.