If you have a close buddy or family member who is trying to quit smoking, what can you do to help when he suffers from nicotine withdrawal and has the urge to smoke again? What kind of support and encouragement can you provide to help him stay smoke-free?
Quitting smoking is tough, but having firm and unwavering support and encouragement from someone like you will inspire and motivate them to stay on the path. Staying smoke-free is possible with the right support group. Here are some tips on how you can be a quitter's go-to kaki, and help them to fight the urge to smoke and quit for good.
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Quitting smoking is like going to war, and requires an arsenal of weapons at one's disposal.
Establish an official Quit Date with your buddy, and impose it immediately. A lapse in time will change minds.
Get your buddy to sign up for the I Quit Programme and put your name down as their supporter. As their supporter, you will receive messages on how to encourage them along their quit smoking jourmey. The programme gives clear milestones to work towards, including incentives that one can look forward to.
Print out the countdown calendar for daily visual tips, and add the Quit Line: 1800 438 2000 to their phone contact list.
Related: Build Your Quitting Game Plan
Now is the time to whip out the pom poms! Round up supporters and fellow quitters to join in - create a WhatsApp group to help them stay engaged in the process, hear success stories or share and learn in the setbacks of others. The I Quit Club Facebook page is also another avenue for quitters to obtain motivational ideas and tips on how to help manage cravings and find healthy alternatives to smoking.
Plan for outdoor activities together and special milestone treats such as a meal in seven days or an outing after 28 days.
Quitters will start to experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, anger, irritation and attention deficient problems about three to five days after their last cigarette. Don't let a bout of frustration derail your efforts!
Have healthy snacks such as nuts, fruit or dark chocolate on standby for them. Not only can these healthy snacks help you manage your cravings, snacks like nuts and fruits offer health benefits too!
Are they feeling restless and need to have something in their mouth or fingers? Before they start smoking again, have them try a fidget spinner or pop a sugar-free mint for a quick fix. Remind them to stay focused and take it one day at a time.
If you find that your withdrawal symptoms unbearable, consider tapping onto nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) which increases the chances of quitting by easing these withdrawal symptoms. NRT supplies nicotine to the body to replace the nicotine from cigarettes and to help reduce nicotine cravings when quitting. The amount of nicotine supplied is slowly reduced over time to decrease dependency and help you quit smoking. Consult a pharmacist or doctor to find out more.
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Avoid temptation by detouring past smoking areas such as hawker centres and outside office buildings. Zip past the convenience store or the kopitiam so that they are not tempted to purchase a pack on a whim. Instead, stroll by smoke-free zones in Singapore such as parks and reservoirs, art galleries and public libraries.
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Money can a great motivator, so why not up the stakes with a savings plan?
Get a transparent container, label it with the Quit Date and have them put in the equivalent cost of a pack of cigarettes e.g. $14* for every day that they are smoke-free. See their savings and their determination grow. You can even offer to match their savings, and use the rewards for a shared trip abroad!
*The pricing of cigarettes is accurate at the time of publishing this article.
Related: Quitters Always Prosper
You will need a long-term game plan. It is rare for a smoker to permanently quit on their first attempt. A local study found that 50% of smokers had attempted to quit the habit two to five times. Have a Plan B for a relapse and be mindful to tailor your response depending on their personality. Some people will need strict discipline to get back on track, while others will appreciate a softer approach.
If your buddy or family member picks up a cigarette in a moment of weakness, be understanding and appreciate that they have told you about the act rather than lie about it. Stay positive, be motivating and reset the Quit Date and countdown together with renewed optimism, instead of making them feel guilty about slipping up.
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E-Cigarettes have gained attention of late and its marketing claims to be a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes but the World Health Organisation has declared that e-cigarettes are undoubtedly harmful to health and that they are not safer alternatives to regular cigarettes. The main function of e-cigarettes is primarily to dispense nicotine, a highly addictive substance that keeps users nicotine-dependent and eventually become long-term users of vapes. Additionally e-cigarettes expose the user to a combination of harmful chemical substances like fine particulate matter (PM), cancer causing agents such as carbonyls and volatile organic compounds. Commonly found substances include cancer-causing compounds like formaldehyde and benzene. Formaldehyde is known to cause infertility as well. Toxic metal nanoparticles like tin, lead and nickel are also derived from the e-cigarette, heating element or vapouriser device itself . As such, e-cigarettes are still addictive and harmful, and are not an ideal replacement.
If the addiction is proving hard to beat, accompany your buddy to visit a doctor or a pharmacist for possible pharmacotherapy options or nicotine replacement therapy. Nicotine replacement products may provide relief and ease difficult symptoms.
Refer a smoker to I Quit Programme now! If they remain smoke free for 28 days, they are 5 times more likely to quit smoking. Ask to be nominated when your smoker friend sign up for I Quit Programme. Ask your smoker friend to validate the smoke-free status and redeem a HPB eVoucher* worth $50 at the 28th day milestone. Keep going and they will also receive eVouchers* worth $30 and $20 at the 3rd month and 6th month milestone respectively!
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This article was last reviewed on
18 Aug 2023
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