Stoptober: Binning the Cigarettes

Smoking is a big and bad habit for a lot of people, but it doesn’t have to be. This October, the campaign Stoptober has returned, and to help you quit smoking for the whole month, and hopefully a long time after that too, here are a few tips and advice.

In my opinion, if you can successfully quit for a whole month, you’ll be able to maintain it for the entire time after that. As a student though, this may not be the case and that’s fine; we all know many smokers in our university lives, because it’s seen as a social activity literally everywhere you go, whether it’s the outdoors of Terrace or the smoking area at Beaver Works where people escape for five minutes for some ‘fresh air’. As I’m also a social smoker, I know how hard it is to curb the habit when you are with other smokers in outdoor places. But my first bit of advice is this, make some non-smoker friends because it really does help. Their blatant judgement when you leave the bar for a smoke is a real eye-opener because they see no point in what you are doing, and it makes you question yourself what exactly it is you are really leaving for.

As much as smoking is a part of university social life, drinking is too, and they often come hand in hand; social drinking will mean social smoking, and this makes a habit of having a cigarette whenever you have a drink. With making new friends that don’t smoke, they don’t do the same, so it helps break this cycle of drinking and smoking. Additionally, on a night out, instead of taking that break to smoke, go dance with your friends or go to the bar for a drink, maybe even hook up with someone, anything that distracts you because any distraction is a distraction.

But without nights out, the habit and craving still lingers for many and we carry smoking into our day-to-day lives. This is when it will be hardest to quit, but don’t give up because you can do it no matter how hard it seems. The best advice I know of is to keep busy; if you want to smoke, go make a cuppa or chew some gum as a new habit. And most of all, it’s the people you surround yourself with who also make a difference, ask them to be supportive and help you, ask them to talk to you when the craving hits you. But if none of this works for you, start writing a list of all the things that make you want to stop and reasons you should stop.

According to the National Health Service (NHS), these are some of the reasons you should stop. Did you know, that drinking and smoking together makes mouth cancer 38 times more probable? It is linked to Alzheimer’s disease, alongside cancer and other health issues, but you probably already know this, so think about these obvious factors to make you quit now. You smell of smoke all the time, it lingers deep in the depths of your hair, hands and clothes and it isn’t pleasant. We all care to a certain extent about our look, but what is never pretty? Bright yellow teeth. And what’s causing that? Cigarettes. We also need to get the idea that smoking looks cool out of our head, because it isn’t, it’s just bad. Think about what you look like on campus with your little pouch of baccy; you think you look good, but really think about it again. Think about the people older than you in their 40’s walking about with a rollie and then put yourself in that position because it’s the same, and it is not a good look. So, all in all, Stoptober is the perfect opportunity to challenge yourself for the better and finally quit, even if temporarily and just enjoy the benefits it will inevitably bring you as a healthy person, and also if you care, to your image.

If you need more help, there are plenty of places you can go to besides the people around you. You can visit the smoking page on the University of Leeds’s website and that will lead you to more advice, or you can also sign up to the NHS stop smoking service.

Isabella Kemp

Image: [NHS]