Tobacco is a highly addictive substance - find out how to quit smoking and the withdrawal symptoms you can expect. Dr Radha Modgil, of BBC Three's Make My Body Younger, provides practical advice on what helps and hinders stopping smoking.

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Make My Body Younger: Smoking

As part of the 'Make My Body Younger'series Dr Radha Modgil looked at how to give up smoking, and how to maintain it. Read the text version.

Want to give up Smoking?

  • It's really difficult to stop Smoking mainly because of the withdrawal symptoms that you'll experience quite early on. Things like changes in mood, irritable moods, also intense hunger and overeating, difficulty sleeping and feeling quite low in energy. Smoking can cause both medical effects and also have effects on your lifestyle.

    The first step in giving up is to identify that you do Smoke too much. A useful way of identifying that is if you're dependent on it, so if you reach for it in times of stress, or use it as a crutch in times of need. One of the things you really should do is keep a diary of how many cigarettes you smoke and just record that activity, when you do it and in what environment and what sets you off.

    The next step is to say how much you are going to cut down. Do you want to cut completely or just cut down very slowly?

    If cutting down completely you may need to replace the nicotine with a patch and you can use other things like gum or inhalators or tablets to help you go through those moments when you need a cigarette.

    Another thing is that it's been proven that if you join a smoking social group or talk to a local doctor your success is going to be much, much greater than it would be if you did it by yourself.

    Also try and keep busy, try and distract yourself with lots of other things and don't forget to use other things like the gum and the inhalators in moments of panic or in moments when you need them.

Getting Help

Books about Smoking

  • Overcoming Your Addictions, Windy Dryden & Walter Matweychuk, 2000
    This book uses the Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy approach to try and help people with addiction.

    Overcoming Your Smoking Habit, David Marks, 2005
    This features cognitive behavioural therapy techniques, proven effective in how to re-programme your mind not to want to smoke.

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