It’s that time of year when many people want to make a fresh start by improving their health – whether it’s being more active, eating and drinking less, or quitting smoking.
For smokers, inhaling recent bushfire smoke alongside harmful cigarette smoke will be causing greater damage to health, making any New Year’s quit smoking resolutions even timelier.
Some reports have compared Sydney’s current air pollution levels equal to smoking dozens of cigarettes.
Western Sydney Local Health District’s Centre for Population Health deputy director Christine Newman believes it’s a critical time for smokers to quit smoking and reduce the impact of inhaling both bushfire and cigarette smoke.
“Unfortunately we’ve seen an increase in people with asthma and breathing problems over the past couple of months as a result of bushfire smoke,” Christine said.
“We know that cigarette smokers are further exposing themselves to toxic chemicals and carbon monoxide from smoking, which is even more damaging. Quitting smoking is the best option to reduce harm, particularly as there will be more smoky days ahead.”
To get you ready for a cigarette smoke-free 2020, the Centre for Population Health offers these three quit tips;
Make a quit plan
Planning how to quit increases your chances of success! Consider:
- Setting a quit date on a non-stressful day
- Thinking about when you smoke – the times and situations. For example: with your morning coffee, or at work with colleagues on a break. Work out a strategy to change these habits!
- Knowing your smoking triggers and ways to avoid them.
Create your own plan using the My Quit Plan here: www.icanquit.com.au/my-quit-plan
Reduce or avoid alcohol and caffeine
Did you know that cigarette smokers process caffeine faster? This means that when trying to quit smoking, caffeine may have a stronger effect (e.g. dizziness, jitters or headaches). It’s recommended to half your intake of coffee, tea or energy drinks, or better still – try to avoid them.
Alcohol is also known to trigger smoking cravings. It may be tricky to avoid during social situations, so get your friends around you to help resist the temptation to smoke!
Consult your doctor for subsidised quit smoking products
Get a script from your local doctor for cheaper nicotine replacement products (e.g. patches, gum or lozenges) or medicines. They are subsidised under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and cheaper than getting them over the counter at supermarkets or pharmacies.
Where to get help to quit?
- NSW Quitline – a free confidential telephone service from a trained quit smoking advisor to help you quit smoking. Got a question? Ask them anything about quitting! Call them on 13 7848.
- Quitly – a new smart bot on Facebook Messenger which is available 24/7. It tailors support just for you. Click on m.me/quitly.bot to start.
- My QuitBuddy – a free mobile app available designed to help you every step in your quit journey. Monitor your daily progress and the amount of money saved. Download from the Google Play or App store.
- ICanQuit website –for more quit smoking information or stories and experiences from people trying to quit smoking, visit www.icanquit.com.au/.
- Your local doctor/GP – getface-to-face advice about how to quit and a script for subsidised quit smoking products.