Quitting cigarettes: one of the toughest New Year’s resolutions - Institute for Respiratory Health

Quitting cigarettes: one of the toughest New Year’s resolutions

Wednesday, December 29, 2021 | News, Uncategorised

We all have the best intentions at the start of a New Year. From exercising more to losing weight, getting our finances in order and, for some, quitting smoking.

Many of those who smoke want to quit because they know about the negative impact it has on their health. But, as the holiday glow fades, so can our commitment to this and other New Year’s resolutions. Some may even have tried to quit smoking before but failed, using this as an excuse to soften, or even ignore the resolution and slip back into old habits.

Director of the Institute for Respiratory Health, Emeritus Professor Geoff Stewart said, “Quitting smoking is a sensible goal that, if successful is likely to offer tangible benefits for a smoker’s health, such as increased life span and a better quality of life.

“Smoking is highly addictive due to the presence of nicotine and quitting is not helped by a variety of social triggers and stressors. These, coupled with the biological effects resulting from nicotine withdrawal, make quitting extremely challenging.

“If a smoker wishes to ensure that their newly-made resolution is successful, the best advice is to develop a plan to help them quit and, importantly, enlist the support of friends, family and health professionals.

“Trying to quit immediately on New Year’s Day is unrealistic but committing to the goal on this day is a great start and one of the best things that can be done is to mentally prepare by drawing up a plan and then putting it into action.

“Set yourself a start date for when you want to quit say, for example, on ‘No Smoking Day’ on 9 March 2022, using the lead time to prepare for this decision. Hopefully, by ‘World No Tobacco Day’ on the 31May 2022, you should start to feel the benefits resulting from the commitment made at the beginning of the year.”

Professor Stewart said that those who smoke should talk to their own doctor about the support that health professionals can provide to help a smoker quit.

In addition, he said that various respiratory health companies such as the Lung Foundation of Australia and the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand host websites where best practice guidance to help quit smoking can be obtained.