1. ITV Report

Top ten tips to stop smoking during Stoptober

New Stoptober campaign to help people kick the habit Photo: PA

An addiction expert from Nottingham Trent University, Professor Mark Griffiths, has given his top ten tips to help people taking part in the Stoptober challenge, a new campaign which challenges smokers to quit for a month.

According to the government's principle medical adviser, Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies, research shows that people who stop smoking for 28 days are five times more likely to stay smoke-free.

The Department of Health said that smoking is the biggest cause of premature death in England and accounts for over 100,000 deaths in the UK each year.

One in two long-term smokers will die from a smoking-related disease.

Top Ten Tips

  • Smokers should be clear on the reason they want to quit.

"Many smokers say they would like to stop but don't really want to.

"When you take stock, make sure you are clear as to why you want to give up. Really wanting to give up is the best predictor of successful smoking cessation."

– Professor Mark Griffiths
  • Quitters should use the emotional support available to them.

"Another good predictor of whether someone will overcome their addiction to nicotine is having a good support network. Tell as many people that you know that you are trying to quit. It could be the difference between stopping and starting again."

– Professor Mark Griffiths
  • Seek advice from healthcare professionals.

"Cutting out cigarettes completely can be hard.

"Getting support from a trained NHS stop smoking advisor can double your chances of stopping smoking."

– Professor Mark Griffiths
  • Those who are planning to stop smoking should avoid going cold turkey.

"Although some people can stop through willpower alone, most people will need to reduce their nicotine intake slowly. The best way of doing this is to replace cigarettes with a safe form of nicotine such as those available from the pharmacy, or on prescription from the doctor."

– Professor Mark Griffiths
  • Non-nicotine cigarette shaped substitutes should be used.

"Smoking is also a habitual behaviour where the feel of it in your hands may be as important as the nicotine it contains.

"The use of plastic cigarettes or e-cigarettes will help with the habitual behaviour associated with smoking but contain none of the addictive nicotine."

– Professor Mark Griffiths
  • Relaxation techniques can also be helpful.

"When cravings strike, use relaxation exercises to help overcome the negative feelings. At the very least take deep breaths. There are dozens of relaxation exercises online."

– Professor Mark Griffiths
  • Those attempting Stoptober should use the money they save not buying cigarettes to treat themselves.

"One of the immediate benefits of stopping smoking will be the amount of money you save.

"At the start of the cessation process, treat yourself to rewards with the money you save."

– Professor Mark Griffiths
  • Quitters need to "focus on the positive"

"Giving up smoking is one of the hardest things that anyone can do.

"Write down lists of all the positive things that will be gained by stopping smoking. Constantly remind yourself of what the long-term advantages will be that will outweigh the short-term benefits of smoking a cigarette."

– Professor Mark Griffiths
  • Smokers should know what triggers them to reach for a cigarette.

"These often occur unconsciously so you need to break the automatic response and de-condition the smoking."

"You need to replace the unhealthy activity with a more positive one and re-condition your behaviour."

– Professor Mark Griffiths
  • Find an activity to "fill the void"

"One of the most difficult things when cigarette craving and withdrawal symptoms strike is not having an activity to fill the void.

"Some things like engaging in physical activity may help you in forgetting about the urge to smoke.

"However, avoid filling the void with other potentially addictive substances - such as alcohol."

– Professor Mark Griffiths