The biggest hurdles to quitting smoking – and how to overcome them.
“I had to learn different skills to cope with stress.” “I missed the social aspects of smoking.” “I’d relapse and have to work up the nerve to try again.”
These were just a few of the hurdles that former smokers said they had to overcome in order to kick their smoking habit for good.
In our most recent smoke-free survey, smokers from across our health region shared their real struggles, and gave an honest assessment of the challenges they faced while quitting smoking.
There’s no question that quitting smoking is difficult. But it is doable. After all, in the end, each one of the 150 former smokers who shared their struggles with us achieved their goal of becoming an ex-smoker. You can too.
Here are some of the real struggles they conquered while quitting. Could one of their strategies help you break free too?
- “I smoked more when I was under stress, when I was driving and after eating. So I had to change my whole way of life. I went for walks on my breaks instead of smoking, I snacked on fruit and veggies in my car and after dinner I started to knit to keep my hands busy.”
- “I would relapse when I ran out of nicotine gum, and if I went to buy more, I would end up buying cigarettes because they were cheaper. So I got my whole family involved in buying my gum supply for me.”
- “For me smoking was such a social thing so I joined other social types of engagements where smoking was discouraged: bowling, going out to dinner, being with non-smoking friends.”
- “I realized that whenever I drank a cup of coffee or alcohol, I wanted to smoke, so I had to quit that for about four months.”
- “I struggled most with talking on the phone and not smoking. So I started cleaning the bathrooms when I was on the phone. Those were some really clean bathrooms those first few months!”
- “The cravings were hard to get past, but I used my goal of saving money to buy a home as motivation, saying out loud, “I want a home more than a smoke.”
- "I fight it one craving at a time, not one day at a time. I will go for a walk, get up and go do something, drink water, just something to take my mind off of it. Every craving I beat, it gets easier and easier.”
Thinking about addressing your tobacco use? Here are resources to help you:
- Did you know that if you are an in-patient in one of our hospitals or facilities, we can provide you with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as nicotine patches, gum, lozenges or inhalers for the entire length of your stay? Ask one of your care providers to explain the options to you.
- Did you know that after your discharge from hospital you can continue to access free NRT through the BC Smoking Cessation Program? This program is open to all B.C. residents and provides non-prescription nicotine replacement therapy products such as the patch, gum, lozenge or inhaler at no cost. Simply head to a drugstore and talk to a pharmacist to learn more. The program also covers prescription smoking cessation drugs through benefits for those who qualify for Fair PharmaCare. Speak with your family physician to see if prescription smoking cessation medication is right for you.
- Did you know that you can access free and confidential one-to-one coaching to stop smoking through QuitNow? QuitNow provides support through their interactive online service or through text, chat, email and phone support. They provide phone services in 300 languages, plus an online community of peers to cheer you along in your smoke-free journey. Visit Quitnow.ca or call (call 1-877-455-2233) to speak with a coach today.
- Tobacco has played a sacred role in First Nations and Métis cultures in B.C. for thousands of years. Visit Respecting Tobacco and Keep It Sacred for more information on how to quit commercial tobacco and keep tobacco sacred.
- Did you know you can learn more about smoking cessation on our website Fraserhealth.ca? Here you can find tips and tricks for stopping smoking, and compare nicotine replacement therapies, and read inspiring articles of others who have quit.