If you’re still puffing away, increasing your risk of cancer with every drag, here are five tips to help you quit smoking

According to CANSA, approximately 19 per cent (7,2 million) of people in South Africa are smokers.

Considering that we should all know that tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer, this statistic is more than alarming – it’s downright shocking!

It’s time to quit

“Quitting smoking is one of the most preventative causes of cancer and will reduce your risk of lung, oesophagus, larynx, mouth or throat cancer to name a few,” says Lynne du Toit CEO of Eurolab, the largest generic oncology company in Southern Africa.

“The risk factors of smoking far outweigh the potentially harmful effects caused by the chemicals found in cigarettes, which have been shown to damage our DNA – and damaged cells can eventually cause cancer.”

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To mark World No Tobacco Day on 31 May, Eurolab has shared with us five tips that could help you kick the habit once and for all.

1. Create accountability

Telling friends and family that you’re quitting your smoking habit is likely to increase your chances of NOT giving into temptation.

Sharing your experience gives room for people around you to be a good support system through the journey.

2. Create an action plan

Instead of going ‘cold turkey’, plan ahead by setting a quit date, researching the best method for you and setting up a support system.

Whether it is by asking advice from your GP, researching hypnosis or downloading a smartphone app, being in control could generate positive outcomes. 

Related: Higher levels of formaldehyde in e-cigarettes than previously thought

3. Bin hidden stashes

Eliminate temptation by clearing your home, car cubbyhole and workplace drawers of leftover cigarettes and half-used cigarette boxes that may be stashed away.

4. Find a replacement

If you smoke when you’re stressed or bored, it will help you to plan a replacement activity to help you beat those times of craving.

This can be as simple as drinking water, chewing gum, doodling, exercising, tidying up the house, walking the dog or gardening.

According to the  Independent Community Pharmacy Association, a craving to smoke lasts three minutes, so all you need to do is keep busy for a short burst of time until the craving has passed.

Related: Quit smoking in 3 minutes

5. Don’t be discouraged by a relapse

Trying to break a habit you’ve built up over years isn’t quick and easy, so cut yourself some slack. Don’t let a momentary relapse break your confidence.

Remember, each attempt to kick your smoking habit is a step in the right direction.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.