Quitting smoking is, according to one of my friends, 'one of hardest things i've ever had to do.' This friend yo-yoed so much with his smoking habit that, by the time he actually did stop, it had been about three years since his first 'i'm never smoking again' moment. It took a long time but I was proud of him – it does take a lot of effort to quit, and I knew how much it meant to him that he was finally smoke-free. 'So, how did you do it?' I asked him; his reply surprised me and it was surely the strangest quit-smoking method I've heard of, but here it is, he said: 'I started making myself a packed lunch in the morning.'
Now, I know what you're thinking; making a lunch each morning doesn't seem to have any link to quitting smoking, but here's how my friend made it work. After over two years of trying to quit he realised that one of his major downfalls was his work lunch break. Every day he would pop out to the shops and invariably have a cigarette on the way and another on the way back. He realised that, if he made himself a packed lunch, he removed this opportunity for smoking. And slowly but surely, it worked. He didn't go cold turkey and he still allowed himself the occasional smoke, but gradually he became used to not smoking at lunch and then he extended that over the rest of his day until, seven months after he started making his sandwiches the night before, he was done. Impressive, I know.
So in honour of my packed lunch wielding, anti-smoking warrior friend, we've come up with a few more unusual stop-smoking aids:
It's the same principle as the one that kept my friend from quitting. You go for a coffee break and you smoke while you drink. Before long you build the habit and your body begins to expect a cigarette with each coffee and vice versa. You associate each practice with the other so that, essentially, partaking in one means you are going to be partaking in both. Many people have suggested that, by cutting out coffee, or by making a determined effort not to smoke during their coffee breaks, they have managed to quit altogether.
Every time you get that urge, get up and go for a walk. Don't take your cigarettes with you and, over time, you should be able to build up a resistance. For a doubly effective strategy, consider pairing your walk with chewing gum – gum designed to help you quit is likely to be more effective, but experts believe that chewing any gum can help take your mind off of smoking.
It's all very well going for the non-prescription gums and patches, and it might help you. But if you've tried them before and they haven't worked then maybe it's time to move onto the clinically proven stuff. Products like Champix have a proven record of helping people to quit, and combining it – or any other quit-smoking aid – with a personally effective distraction method could lead to the results that you need.