Naresh Heera, Respiratory Therapist at Peace Arch Hospital, shares his tips on how to get on the road to a smoke-free life:
1. Start with the physical addiction
I start by helping my clients focus on the physical nicotine dependence. I always recommend they try nicotine replacement therapy(NRT), like the patch. NRT is covered under PharmaCare, as well as other insurance and health benefits, so there’s really no harm in trying!
Also, if my patients think, ‘I already tried NRT last year,’ well, I say that was last year! You were covered before, and you are covered again – just go to your pharmacy and they can help you get started.”
2. Prepare for the psychological side-effects
Quitting smoking is tough, but the side-effects of quitting can be tough as well: depression, feeling irritable, trouble sleeping. My advice? Get active! This can also help combat weight-gain related to quitting, which is a major concern for many. I always say that losing weight can be dealt with after getting the smoking addiction under control. Don't interpret weight gain as a negative. If you gain a bit of weight, you can lose it later when your lungs are healthier.
3. Try different activities to manage your cravings
One thing I always tell my patients is to do yoga! It helps you to feel good, has deep breathing exercises, and helps you stay busy. If yoga isn’t for you, then try another activity or exercise . It’s important to keep as busy as possible, especially when you’re dealing with a craving.
4. Avoid social situations that make you want to smoke
It’s tough keeping smoking in check while hanging out with friends who still smoke, which can make it hard to even try. Avoid going to the places where you used to smoke, and take a break from those places where a lot of your friends who smoke are hanging out. It can be hard at first, but staying clear of these risky situations until you can handle smoking temptations can have a huge impact on how well you succeed. Also, make sure to get support from family and friends. Talking it out helps you realize, ‘I am not alone,’ especially where other people want you to quit smoking.
For more information, resources, and support visit QuitNow, a free province-wide smoking cessation resource managed by the BC Lung Association and funded by the BC Ministry of Health.