Nearly seven out of ten (67%) Irish smokers intend to kick the habit in the New Year according to new study by Empathy Research for Nicorette.
Results show that health concerns are a motivation to try to quit for the overwhelming majority of smokers (97%) but that it can take multiple attempts before someone manages to give up for good.
Two thirds (66%) of smokers who had tried previously to quit smoking said their attempts were among the most stressful periods in their life. More than one in five smokers (22%) have tried unsuccessfully to quit more than four times while 36% have tried to quit 3–4 times (28% have attempted twice and 13% have made one attempt already).
Commenting on the results, psychologist Linda Cooney says, “A small percentage of people manage to quit smoking on their first attempt so it’s important for people not to give up if they are unsuccessful the first time round. Support from family and friends can be of enormous benefit at the start.
“However, it’s important that people find an approach that works for them individually. This can mean looking at multiple ways at how best to change entrenched behaviour patterns. For some people, giving up completely in one go can work best but, for others, a more gradual approach to quitting is the solution, especially when faced with social situations and periods of high stress.”
Ms Cooney suggests the following tips for those seeking to break their smoking habit in the New Year.
Understand Why - Write down the reasons why you want to quit and discuss them with someone you trust. Answer the question; “Do I believe I can succeed?” Research shows that self-belief is linked to outcome.
Set a Start Date
Pick a start date and stick to it for quitting - Ensure that this is achievable and that there are no obstacles around your agreed date.
Record a Weekly Schedule or Diary - The week before your start date begin recording a daily schedule of activities and behaviours, paying particular attention to activities you associate with smoking. Write it down!
Perceptions of smoking
More than half of smokers (54%) surveyed say they think people have a lesser opinion of them when they smoke while 46% indicate they get embarrassed about smoking. More than a third (35%) of smokers feel their employer has a lesser opinion of smokers; however, 24% disagree and 41% of smokers are neutral about this.
A significant number of smokers feel the need to hide their habit with half of smokers and former smokers (50% and 53% respectively) admitting they smoked in secret at varying degrees of frequency. Results among those still smoking show that 38% try to hide their habit from their partner/spouse, 25% from their children, 22% from certain friends and 18% from their employer.