Based on a recent YouGov Survey*, about 2.2 million people in the UK may be smoking more than usual during the coronavirus crisis despite the serious harm it does to respiratory and immune systems. Also, the repetitive hand to mouth movement provides an easy route of entry for the virus, putting smokers at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.
In light of this, the team at Cavendish Online collaborated with Leena Sankla, Director of Public Health at Solutions 4 Health, to give actionable tips and advice on how to stop smoking in lockdown. Nine practical tips on how people can stop smoking during lockdown include:
1. Make a list of reasons to quit
Verbalising your reasons for quitting, out loud or on paper, can help you to get into the right frame of mind to quit
2. Think positive
You might have tried to quit smoking before and not managed it, but do not let that put you off. Look back at the things your experience has taught you and think about how you are really going to do it this time
3. Make a plan to quit smoking
Make a promise, set a date, and stick to it. Sticking to the “not a drag” rule can really help. Think ahead to times where it might be difficult and plan your actions and escape routes in advance
4. Consider your diet
Is your after-dinner cigarette your favourite? A US study revealed that some foods, including meat, make cigarettes more satisfying. Others, including cheese, fruit, and vegetables, make cigarettes taste terrible, so swap your usual steak or burger for a veggie pizza instead
5. Change your drink
The same US study as above also looked at drinks. Fizzy drinks, alcohol, cola, tea, and coffee all make cigarettes taste better, so drink more water and juice
6. Identify when you crave cigarettes
A craving can last 5 minutes. Before you give up, make a list of 5-minute strategies. As an example (for after lockdown), you could leave the party for a minute, dance or go to the bar. And think about this: the combination of smoking and drinking raises your risk of mouth cancer by 38 times.
7. Get some stop smoking support
If friends or family members want to give up, too, suggest to them that you give up together. There is also a free local Stop Smoking Service across the Country, and with their help, you are 3 times as likely to quit successfully. During the coronavirus outbreak, local Stop Smoking Services are unable to offer face-to-face support, however, they can still support you in your quit attempt using other contact methods such as telephone, video calling or smoking cessation apps
8. Get moving
A review of scientific studies has proved exercise, even a 5-minute walk or stretch, cuts cravings and may help your brain produce anti-craving chemicals
9. Keep your hands and mouth busy
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can double your chances of success. As well as patches, there are tablets, lozenges, gum, and a nasal spray. And if you like holding a cigarette, there are handheld products like the inhalator or e-cigarettes. Or try putting your drink in the hand that usually holds a cigarette, or drink from a straw to keep your mouth busy
Nikita Davis, Insurance Adviser at Cavendish Online, commented:
“It’s official… Lockdown has increased our smoking habits. However, many of us will not have properly considered the long-term consequence of this, such as the negative health issues or critical illnesses that are linked to the habit, including those related to addiction, breathing difficulties and cancers.
“The potential issues with smoking are that it can impact more than just your health. For example, there will likely also be financial consequences to consider. As well as making a dent into your disposable income, smoking will likely also affect important policies you have (or will need to put) in place, such as life insurance, so it is worth being mindful of this.
“At Cavendish Online, we offer various options to help you find the best insurance for you, depending on your lifestyle. You can apply for a policy online yourself, in just a few minutes. Alternatively, you can choose to speak with one of our specialists over the phone, who can guide you through the process and help you choose the best cover for you and your family”.
For more information, visit: https://www.cavendishonline.co.uk/news/how-to-quit-smoking-during-lockdown