Smoky skies, streets littered with cigarette butts and haggard pedestrians loom in our nightmares. No one would want to live in an environment like that, or would we? In honour of World Asthma Day, which was celebrated earlier this week, we shed light on how you can quit this harmful activity.
In our chat with Dr K Vijaya, a member of Singapore’s Health Promotion Board, she gives us great tips for mums and dads out there who want to stub out the butt for good. Here are some useful methods to help you get started on trying to quit smoking and embark on a healthier lifestyle for both yourself and your children.
1. Have a ‘quit’ plan
Set a date to quit and stick to it. Don’t give yourself excuses. On that date, whether or not you think you are ready, just do it.
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2. Get your family and friends to support you
Tell family and friends that you plan to quit smoking. Ask them to give you the support and encouragement you need when quitting gets tough. If you know of someone who has quit smoking successfully, talk to them about their experiences so you know what to expect when you quit.
3. Prevent vulnerable positions
Stay away from people, places and situations which might tempt you to smoke, at least for the first few days after quitting. Avoid temptation by throwing away all cigarettes, lighters, ashtrays and other smoking-related items. Keeping these items out of sight will help you avoid temptation.
4. Think of yourself as a non-smoker
Change your daily routine to break up your habits and patterns. If you miss holding a cigarette in your hand, use some other object instead — like a pencil, paper clip, coin or tooth pick.
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5. Distract yourself and exercise
Do things that require you to use your hands, like house hold chores, handicraft or gardening. Nibble on healthy snacks (like carrot sticks or pieces of fruit) and drink plenty of water. Exercise regularly. Regular exercise relieves stress and makes you feel more energetic.
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6. Have a desire to quit
Think of the reasons why you want to quit smoking and constantly remind yourself of these reasons, such as being a good role model to your children, being able to take your family to more places instead of only to places where smoking is allowed. Having these constant reminders of how much more important your family is and how you want to quit smoking will keep you motivated to stay away from cigarettes.
7. Composure is key
Learn relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises and muscle relaxation to relieve tension and stress. Talk to someone with the knowledge or training to help you quit if you need advice, like a pharmacist or a doctor.
You may also find it helpful to seek professional counselling or join a smoking-cessation programme. Institutions which offer such assistance in Singapore include:
Here are some avenues and resources you may like to consider, including the Health Promotion Board’s resources:
- I Quit Club on Facebook – an active community of smokers, ex-smokers, quit consultants and members of the public, who share their experiences and provide advice or support to help smokers quit the habit, and ex-smokers to stay smoke-free.
- QuitLine (1800 438 2000) is a hotline manned by trained nurse counsellors that gives you free personalised advice on how to quit smoking.
- Alexandra Hospital – you may call 6379-3330/3331 to enquire more about their Smoking Cessation Programme.
- Child Guidance Clinic (Health Promotion Board) – for young smokers aged 19 and below. Call them at 6435-3878/3879.
- Institute of Mental Health – They have a Community Addictions Management Programme (CAMP) you can look towards in seeking for help. Call 6389-2200.
- Tan Tock Seng Hospital – Their Smoking Cessation Clinic is run by a team of pharmacists who are certified Quit Smoking Consultants. Call 6889 4343 / 6357 7000 (for enquiries or appointments).
Watch this video for more on how to quit smoking:
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