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Published: Saturday May 31, 2014 MYT 10:23:34 AM
Updated: Saturday May 31, 2014 MYT 10:23:34 AM

Top 10 tips to quit smoking

Break the habit: Many people will fail to quit smoking, especially on their first few tries, but this is no reason to give up.

Break the habit: Many people will fail to quit smoking, especially on their first few tries, but this is no reason to give up.

IT IS World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) today and the theme this year is “Raising taxes on tobacco”.

Universiti Malaya Nicotine Addiction Research and Collaboration Centre coordinator and psychiatrist Dr Amer Siddiq Amer Nordin said increasing the price of cigarettes had proven to be effective in reducing consumption in many countries.

“The New Zealand government has a policy of consistently increasing taxes on tobacco at yearly intervals and I think achieving their goal of a completely smoke-free nation by 2025 is entirely possible,” said Dr Amer, agreeing this was a step in the right direction.

“An estimated six million people die from smoking-related diseases every year, and 10,000 of this number are Malaysians,” added the psychiatrist, who is pursuing a PhD on smoking cessation in New Zealand.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) created WNTD in 1987 and it is observed on May 31 every year. Smokers are encouraged to abstain from cigarettes for the entire day.

“During this time, countries that have signed the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) will be actively promoting awareness campaigns against tobacco consumption,” said Dr Amer.

Malaysia is one of the 174 signatories of the FCTC, which it ratified on 2005. Currently, an estimated 23% of Malaysians smoke and most of them are men.

Dr Amer said among the initiatives for the campaign this year was to promote the use of the #SmokeFreeMY hashtag on social media.

To help provide you with some ideas, Metro Online Broadcast (www.mob.com.my) interviewed Dr Amer on tips to quit smoking.

1 - Reasons for quitting - Amer says that the first step to quitting smoking is to ask one's self,

1. Give a reason

The first step to giving up cigarettes is to ask yourself: “Why do I want to quit smoking?” Whether it is for the sake of your health, family or to save money, having a reason helps strengthen your resolve.

2 - Assessing dependence - An important question that many healthcare professionals ask to assess one's dependence on smoking is to find out how early in the day a smoker has their first cigarette. Smoking in bed, first thing in the morning is a clear sign of heavy dependence.Interview with Dr Amer Siddiq Amer Nordin, coordinator for the Universiti Malaya Nicotine Addiction Research and Collaboration Centre, for MOB's Top 10 Tips to Quitting Smoking.

2. How dependent are you?

Healthcare professionals will assess one’s dependence on cigarettes by finding out how early in the day a smoker has to have his fix. Smoking in bed in the morning is a clear sign of heavy dependence.

3 - Going 'cold turkey' - It is entirely possible for smokers to break the habit by stopping smoking abruptly without any assistance; a method referred to as

3. Going “cold turkey”

It is possible for smokers to break the habit by stopping smoking without any assis­tance; a method referred to as “going cold turkey”. How­ever, this rarely works and the average smoker will usually need additional help to quit.

4 - Set a quit date - The next step to actually quitting smoking is to set a date by which the individual stops smoking. An ideal timeframe would be a two-week period in which the smoker gradually cuts down on the number of cigarettes they smoke in a day.Interview with Dr Amer Siddiq Amer Nordin, coordinator for the Universiti Malaya Nicotine Addiction Research and Collaboration Centre, for MOB's Top 10 Tips to Quitting Smoking.

4. Set a quit date

The next step to quitting smoking is to set a date. An ideal time frame would be a two-week period, during which the smoker gradually cuts down on the number of cigarettes he smokes in a day.

7 - Professional help - Individuals can seek the help and advice of just about any healthcare professional from general practitioners to dentists and even pharmacists. In Malaysia, there are around 300 government-run 'quit smoking clinics' that many people are not aware of.Filepix for MOB's Top 10 Tips to Quitting Smoking

5. Get professional help

Individuals can seek help and advice from healthcare professionals, ranging from general practitioners to dentists and even pharmacists. In Malaysia, there are around 300 government-run “quit smoking clinics” that many people are not aware of.

6 - Seeking support - Support from family and friends is crucial to helping an individual quit smoking. Tell your non-smoking peers that you want to quit smoking and they are likely to be more than happy to support you every step of the way.Filepix for MOB's Top 10 Tips to Quitting Smoking

6. Seek support

Support from family and friends is crucial to helping an individual quit smoking. Tell your non-smoking peers you want to quit smoking and they will surely support you every step of the way.

8 - Obtaining medication - Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) are over-the-counter medication that comes in many forms such as nicotine patches, nicotine gum and lozenges. However, non-NRT medications, which come in the form of pills, must be prescribed.Filepix for MOB's Top 10 Tips to Quitting Smoking

7. Medication may help

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) are over-the-counter medication that comes in many forms such as nicotine patches, nicotine gum and lozenges. However, non-NRT medications, which come in the form of pills, must be prescribed.

9 - Questionable alternative - Electronic cigarettes are increasing in popularity as a replacement for smoking cigarettes but according to Amer, its legal status is still pending in many countries due to its unknown health risks and thus, is not recommended by healthcare professionals.Filepix for MOB's Top 10 Tips to Quitting Smoking

8. Some alternatives

Electronic cigarettes have become popular as a replacement for cigarettes, but according to Dr Amer, most healthcare professionals would not recommend them as their safe use has been questioned.

5 - Positive reinforcement - Amer says that positive reinforcement is very important to keep the recovering individual going. Each time the individual successfully resists the craving to smoke, they ought to praise or reward themselves for making good progress towards recovery.Interview with Dr Amer Siddiq Amer Nordin, coordinator for the Universiti Malaya Nicotine Addiction Research and Collaboration Centre, for MOB's Top 10 Tips to Quitting Smoking.

9. Positive reinforcement

Dr Amer says that positive reinforcement is very important to help a smoker persist in their attempt to quit smoking. Each time, he successfully resists the craving to smoke, he should be praised or rewarded for making good progress.

10. Do not give up

Many people will fail to quit smoking, especially on their first few tries, but this is no reason to give up. According to Dr Amer, the rate of success increases with each attempt at quitting smoking.

Tags / Keywords: Health, Community, Central Region, Events, People, Top 10, Tips to Quitting Smoking, Dr Amer Siddiq Amer Nordin, Universiti Malaya, Nicotine Addiction Research and Collaboration Centre, MOB

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