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Dear Guest,

QuitCoach is designed to provide you with a personal guide to quitting smoking. This advice has been personally tailored for you based on the questions you answered on Sunday, 5 February 2023. We hope you find it useful. Read it carefully, and try the suggestions. If you do, it should help you to quit, and once quit, to become a long term ex-smoker. You can print it out (use the pdf version) and you will be able to refer to it whenever you feel the need.

Your current situation

Congratulations on your decision to quit smoking. Now that you have set a quit date, you need to strengthen your resolve and commit yourself to going through with your attempt.

It is important that you don't let anything get in the way of quitting. Remember, the sooner you quit the greater the improvement to your health. No other time is going to be better than the present. Much of the discomfort you may feel in the days after you quit smoking will be from your nicotine addiction. Confront these feelings by telling yourself you can and will overcome them, and they will eventually go away.

It's important to realise that while you may rely on smoking, it is a false friend. You will find yourself much better off when you escape the hold nicotine has over you and discover new ways of coping, ways that are actually more effective in the long run.

Before your quit day, spend some time getting yourself ready so you are in the right frame of mind to deal with likely problems. For example, it's a good idea to get rid of as many reminders to smoke as you can. The fewer temptations you face, the more energy you will have to deal with the ones that are hard to avoid. Also think about how you cope in the situations where you are no longer able to smoke. Use the program to help you work out other strategies in areas where you might need help. Think about the fact that you are freeing yourself from the slavery of your addiction - it's an exciting prospect when you consider what a difference it's going to make to your life!

In the first few days after you quit you're likely to get some strong cravings to smoke. You may come up with lots of reasons to have a cigarette, some of which will appear really convincing on the face of it. However, you need to remember that this is your addiction trying to regain control. Challenge these thoughts as soon as they start to creep in and resist the cravings. Rehearse a statement like 'I am quitting for my health and nothing will get in my way', and use it when you feel tempted to smoke. Be single-minded about it. This is a fight with your nicotine addiction and you are going to win.

There are a couple of absolute 'do nots' when you are quitting.

1. DO NOT review your original decision to stop smoking.

2. DO NOT be distracted by stray thoughts or enticing arguments such as 'just have one' - this is your nicotine addiction talking. It can be difficult to think clearly when craving a cigarette, so don't try. Stick with the decision you made when you could think straight. Cravings are often short-lived and intense, so plan some strategies on how you are going to cope with them. The Getting Through The Early Days and Dealing With Nicotine Withdrawal Advice Sheets contain lots of potential strategies.

For more information on this program, click on How QuitCoach works, which can also be found on the additional resources page.

How addicted are you, and is it worth using stop smoking medication?

Based on what you have told us about your smoking patterns, you have a strong physical addiction to nicotine. This means that when you try to quit you will have to cope while your body adjusts to no longer having nicotine.

Your quitting history should give you confidence that you have the ability to overcome your addiction. Your main challenge is not going to be resisting temptations, it will be learning to become a nonsmoker. We suggest you pay particular attention to the advice under 'The Value You Give Smoking'. Your problem appears to be giving up the idea that smoking is important to you. You need to do this to become a nonsmoker. An important feature of this program is that it provides advice on how to change the habits you've learned over 18 years of smoking, so that you can come to think and act as a nonsmoker.

You might like to consider using a nicotine replacement product or another form of drug treatment (e.g. Varenicline) to help you quit. More information about stop-smoking medication is available in the Stop-Smoking Medication Advice Sheet.

Implications of your recent quitting history

Making a quit attempt after not having tried to quit for a while can be a bit daunting. It means you don't have any recent experiences to help you prepare for what you will face. However, regardless of how you feel about quitting now, we urge you to maintain your resolve and go through with it. Whatever the outcome, it will be positive. Naturally the ideal outcome is to succeed, but even if you relapse back to smoking, the experience is not a waste of time because it will teach you a great deal about how, when, where, and why you rely on smoking. This means you will be well placed to focus on learning skills that will enable you to overcome the problems you faced during your last attempt.

Based on your answers, you often find yourself smoking without realizing. This can be a real problem when trying to quit. It is important that you get your smoking back under conscious control. Try to pay attention to every cigarette you smoke. Try keeping a smoking diary - each time you smoke a cigarette, write a note recording the time, what you were doing/feeling, and how much you crave each cigarette (use the Smoking Diary at the end of the Understanding Your Smoking Advice Sheet). Also note how many cigarettes you start the day with. Then at the end of the day check to see that you have remembered every one you smoked. If there are ones missing, then keep doing this until you can recall every one. When you are deciding to smoke every cigarette you do, deciding not to becomes a lot easier to manage. You will also probably learn quite a bit about the things that trigger you to smoke. Another useful strategy is to keep your cigarettes somewhere you don't normally, so you have to think to find them. If you find yourself smoking a cigarette you haven't chosen, simply put it out.

Reasons for quitting

If you don't know whether you have a health problem caused by your smoking, talk to your doctor about it. It is almost certain that you have already done some damage, even if it isn't noticeable. Smoking is a cause of an extensive range of illnesses and other problems, so even if you haven't got a major smoking related problem yet, your health will almost certainly improve after you quit. Find out more about how smoking harms your body.

You know what you need to do. Don't let anything get in the way, just go ahead and quit. It is important for you and the only time that matters is now. Keep your reasons for quitting clearly in mind and don't be swayed into thinking twice about any of them. You have made the right decision. There is no room for doubt.

Based on the 20 cigarettes you report smoking every day, and what you pay for them, you are spending about $120 per week on pouch tobacco. This translates into around $6200 per year. That is a lot of money - think what else you could do with that amount of money. It's certainly another good reason to quit.

The value you give smoking

You are very well placed to make a quit attempt because you don't see any real benefit of continuing to smoke and you can enjoy being in smokefree situations. This is a great advantage, because you're free to concentrate on the main thing that's tying you to smoking, your addiction to nicotine. So, even though you may find the early stages of quitting quite hard, you can take comfort in the fact that any thoughts about needing a cigarette are purely your addiction talking. And after all, when your health is hanging in the balance there's really no choice - your addiction has to go.

Maintain your resolve, invest your time and energy in staying strong and don't let tempting thoughts cloud your judgement.

Your mood

From what you tell us it sounds as if you are feeling pretty good at the moment. You are ready to face a challenge, and although it might involve some pain, you are up to it. If you go into it well prepared you will be well placed to overcome any problems that you face, because you'll have a plan and a strategy for every possible situation.

Your social and living situation

You have a smokefree home. This is a great position to be in for your quit attempt. Enjoy it. Think about the occasions when you feel a need to go outside to smoke. What need is smoking serving? Could you get this in other ways?

Try to enlist the support of the other people in your house for when you make your attempt. If at all possible, ask them not to leave their cigarettes lying around.

Having mainly nonsmoking friends should make quitting easier. You may want to tell some of them about your quit date and get them to help you go through with it. It is a good idea to start looking at what your nonsmoker friends do in situations in which you smoke. How do they deal with these situations without cigarettes? Try to copy what they do, and if you feel comfortable, then it seems likely that the act of smoking isn't really essential. Talking to ex-smokers about strategies they used to quit may also be useful. However, you will need to decide what strategies are best for you.

It sounds as if you've got good support from your family and friends. Use their help to make your task easier, but don't rely on them too much. Quitting in the end is up to you - it is you who will succeed and it can be you who fails if you expect others to do too much. That said, having somebody to share the hard times with, and having people around you who won't deliberately tempt you to smoke, can make the first days and weeks after quitting a bit easier and can help strengthen those friendships.

Overcoming obstacles

It is good that you have confidence in your ability to quit. However, when you quit you expect to get strong temptations in some situations. This may happen, especially in the first few days when you still have nicotine and its by-products in your blood. However, there are things that you can do to lessen their strength. In the time before you quit, make a list of situations you expect to be difficult, and those you expect to be easier, and work out a strategy for each to use after you quit. Or better still, test yourself out. Take some of the harder situations and see how you go without smoking. If you find it really difficult, then try using an oral nicotine replacement product such as the nicotine chewing gum, lozenge, mouth spray or inhalator. Does this make it easier? If it does, then you know that your physiological addiction to nicotine is a major problem. Using a nicotine replacement product (or another smoking cessation drug) should help you when you quit. More information about stop-smoking medication is available in the Stop-Smoking Medication Advice Sheet.

It is important that you have a clear idea of what challenges you will face. If you take it in manageable steps you will be able to overcome them, but don't try to do too much too fast.

You seem to be having a mental wrestle with yourself about whether you have the right skills you need to quit. Don't be distracted by this. Focus on the small steps you need to take, keep moving towards your quit date, and don't listen to your addiction. Also, after you quit keep the same single-mindedness, to protect yourself against the risk of relapsing. You can do it if you stick to your resolve and try to solve problems as they arise. Use any negative thoughts as prompts to try to understand where you might run into problems. For each situation you identify, write out what the problem is, and focus on developing strategies to overcome those problems. Keep telling yourself that you can do it, because if you are prepared to put in the effort, there is no doubt that you can.

What to do now

Once again, congratulations on your decision to break free from smoking. By agreeing to quit tomorrow you can now focus on succeeding. Remember to stay focused on achieving your goal and start preparing yourself for the challenge ahead.

In spare moments, spend time thinking about what you have learnt from doing the exercises we have recommended. What can you do to make quitting easier? What can you do to help yourself overcome difficult situations? Try practising the suggestions we have made, especially not smoking in the situations where you think you will find it hardest not to smoke. If you fail, it tells you that you either need more practice or other strategies. If there are situations you can avoid, then plan to keep away from them in the week or so after you quit. Once you have been quit for a while it should be a little easier to cope in these situations.

We recommend you return and review your progress with QuitCoach after you have been quit for about a week, on 12 February 2023, unless you feel a need for more advice before then. Remember, you can return to QuitCoach to receive new advice any time you think things have changed enough to make it worthwhile.

The QuitCoach

Disclaimer

This site is not meant to replace the advice of a doctor.

You should not rely on any information on these pages, or information generated for you by this site, to replace speaking to your doctor about your own specific situation.