Giving it up
Even though it seems like it’s almost impossible to smoke anywhere in public these days – it’s surprising that at last count nearly 17% of Australians still smoke regularly.
- Smoking-related diseases killed 14,900 Australians in the financial year 2004–05 which equals 40 preventable deaths every day.
- The major tobacco-related diseases include cancer, heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
- Smoking resulted in over 750,000 days spent in hospital and cost $670 million in hospital costs in the financial year 2004/05.
It’s no secret that smoking is bad for you, but despite all the messages it is one of the hardest habits to kick. Caroline Miller, Chair of Tobacco Issues at the Cancer Council says that the secret to quitting requires commitment and usually an ‘a ha’ moment.
“Smoking is a complex behavioural, emotional and addictive behaviour and no one size fits all.”
She goes on to say that most people eventually quit by going cold turkey, but many people try several times before being successful.
Trapped – don’t pay to quit
Despite cold turkey being the most successful strategy for giving up there are no shortage of products and services that will be happy to take your money with promises of a magic bullet. From electric cigarettes to programs that promise you will quit forever in just seven days, all for the right price of course.
“People should be wary of any method or intervention or program that claims to have a 100% success rate.” says Miller “Quitting is hard – so hard that only a small percentage of quit attempts last for 12 months or more.”
Tips to quit
- Nicotine replacement therapy and prescribed medications like Champix (which reduces the effects of nicotine in the body) can help with the addictive aspect of nicotine.
- Cutting down, with or without pharmacotherapy, will increase the likelihood of quitting because it reduces nicotine dependence.
- Getting counselling through the Quitline 13 7848 helps to work through the behaviour change and to get advice on quitting tips and methods.
- Some people also find hypnotherapy works for them (even though it is not supported by randomised controlled trials)
- Understanding there is no magic solution when it comes to giving up – it all depends on what works best for the individual, but there are plenty of options.
Help at the click of a mouse
While there are plenty of anti-smoking apps available for iphone and Android, a recent review in the USA of the apps currently on the market revealed that none meet the acceptable standards proven to help people kick the habit. However there are a range of good online support programs available, such as QuitCoach.