Smoking management - Boorais & Smoke Don't Mix

What managing smoking feels like

It’s hard to manage your smoking. Your body experiences nicotine withdrawal, but if you decide to quit the symptoms usually only last for a few weeks. Here’s more about how to manage the most common symptoms and how to deal with a relapse.

Withdrawal symptoms

When you quit smoking, you will have withdrawal symptoms. These can last from a few days to a few weeks – it’s different for every person but they don’t last long.

The first week is the hardest as your body has become used to having regular nicotine ‘hits’.

Don’t worry – the cravings gradually get less frequent as your body recovers from its addiction.

Here are some common symptoms and tips for dealing with them:

  • Feeling tense and irritable — feeling angry and snapping at those around you, feeling panicky or anxious. Go for a walk. Take deep breaths. Soak in a warm bath. Meditate. Do some stretching exercises.
  • Depression — feeling sad, having a sense of grief or loss, lack of self confidence. Use positive self-talk. Speak to a friend or family member. See your Aboriginal medical service or another health practitioner if the depression is intense or does not go away.
  • Appetite changes — enjoying the smell and taste of food can result in eating more than you usually would. Try to choose healthy, low-fat snacks such as fruit or vegetables.
  • Constipation and gas — you might have wind and stomach-aches. Drink plenty of water. Eat lots of fruit, vegetables and high-fibre cereal.
  • Insomnia — just can’t get to sleep. Avoid drinks containing caffeine (for example, coffee, tea, coke) particularly before bed. Try relaxation exercises before bed.
  • Difficulty concentrating — finding it hard to focus. Break large projects into smaller tasks. Take regular breaks.
  • Cough, dry throat and mouth, nasal drip — feeling like you’ve got the flu. Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Dizziness — your body is getting more oxygen so you might feel a bit light-headed. Sit down and rest until it passes.

Once the first couple of weeks are over, your chances of staying smoke-free are much higher. After a month you will be feeling much better and proud! And if at first you don’t succeed, keep trying. Smokers may need as many as 30 attempts to quit before they are successful.

Know your triggers

For many people, smoking isn’t just an addiction. It can be something you do for comfort or to deal with feelings. It can also be a habit that’s built into your daily routines.

Remember when you had a drink or a coffee with your cigarette? Your brain hasn’t forgotten that yet. After years of smoking, your brain sends a signal to have a cigarette every time you do these things.

When you start to manage your smoking, these situations create cravings — they’re a memory of how things used to be.

While you’re on your smoking management plan you might get a craving for a cigarette when you’re in these situations. Think about your smoking habits. Knowing what makes you want to smoke can help you plan how to cope in trigger situations.

Your feelings are connected to smoking too. You might smoke for comfort when you’re sad, angry, uncomfortable or bored, or if you just want to have a break for you.The links between smoking and everyday feelings stay in your mind for a while, and it will take some time to break those links.

Make a Smoking Management Plan

Finding your own strategy for managing your smoking is important. Different methods suit different people.

Record your plan

You can use one of these online tools or templates to record your plan, or make your own with help from your health professional:

If you feel ready to quit you can follow these steps to make a personal plan:

  1. Set a quit date — some time in the next two weeks will give you time to prepare. You might want to add it to your calendar as a reminder.
  2. Write down why you want to quit — you can use these reasons to remind yourself why you’re doing this.
  3. Prepare to deal with cravings and withdrawal — talk to your health professional about the different methods you can use.
  4. List your smoking triggers — the situations, habits and feelings that  make you want to reach for a cigarette. Plan how to deal with these and stay in control.
  5. Make your home and car smoke-free zones.
  6. Choose your methods — tell your friends and family that you’re quitting, contact your local Aboriginal medical service, other health practitioner or Aboriginal Quitline to get support for your  journey
  7. Download the My QuitBuddy app.