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09 April, 2012

Stub out the cigarettes

Getty (© Getty)
We took a look at the different methods used by celebrities and consulted the experts to find out which method could work for you.
Rex Features (© Rex Features)
Liz Hurley :€“ Baby steps
When the paparazzi snapped Liz Hurley sucking on a baby's dummy, many thought she'd lost the plot, but in fact, the former model and swimwear designer was merely trying to quit smoking. 'Smokers can be anchored to the 'comfort' of sucking on a cigarette so this provides a substitute,' explains Lesley McCall, a cognitive hypnotherapist and founder of And, if you can't quite face sucking on a child's dummy, opt for some mints instead. 'Cravings don't last as long as people think - they peak and fade away in a relatively short time,' says Lesley. 'For this reason I recommend to my clients that they suck on sugar free mints, as this provides a distraction long enough for the craving to lessen or even disappear completely.'
Rex Features (© Rex Features)
Gisele Bundchen : Smoke-free snacking
Super-slim Gisele admits that she put on weight after giving up cigarettes, but the supermodel soon shed the extra pounds - and discovered a whole new love of food, saying that 'food tastes better than when it tasted like an ashtray'. While some people gain weight after quitting smoking, an equal number don't, and it's normally just a temporary side effect. 'The fact is that many, but not all, ex-smokers do gain some weight after they quit,' says Dr Tom Ferguson, author of The No-Nag, No-Guilt, Do-It-Your-Own-Way Guide To Quitting Smoking. 'But the degree of weight gain is relatively small in most cases. The average long-term weight gain for quitters is about five pounds, and in one study, 23% of quitters actually lost weight. One way to ease a craving for sweets is to use sugar substitutes or eat more fruit. The desire for sweets will fade as your body readjusts its blood sugar level.'
Rex Features (© Rex Features)
Pink :€“ Going it alone
Pop singer Pink quit smoking by going cold turkey - but be warned, many who take this approach struggle to give up the cigarettes for good. 'It's like tightrope-walking without a net,' says Thomas Glynn, director of cancer science and trends at the American Cancer Society. 'It's natural to want to try to quit independently. Most people think they can handle quitting on their own, but they typically underestimate how powerful nicotine dependence really is.'
Rex Features (© Rex Features)
Matt Damon :€“ Hypnosis
When The Bourne Identity star wanted to quit smoking, he turned to hypnotism - an increasingly popular method of giving up smoking. 'The most important factor when dealing with any addiction is the state of your mind,' explains Christopher Morgan-Locke at the Peel Clinic. 'If you've smoked for years your unconscious mind will be conditioned to believe you are a smoker, you like smoking and if you stop there will be some kind of negative outcome.' Additionally, the long term results offered by hypnotherapy mean it's one of the cheaper options.
'I often record the hypnotherapy session so clients can use it at home to top up and save them the need to have long term support,' says Christopher. 'For most people all that's needed is one session of around two hours. Unlike using patches or gum, there are no negative side effects and once learnt you have the technique for life.'
Rex Features (© Rex Features)
Charlotte Church : Pregnant pause
The Welsh singer sensibly ditched the cigs - albeit temporarily - when she became pregnant, being all too aware of the damage smoking can do to an unborn foetus. 'Even one cigarette during pregnancy has to be considered an absolute no-no for pregnant women because of the increased health risks smoking brings,' explains Dr Malcolm Vandenburg, a consultant and pharmaceutical physician. 'Almost everything that can go wrong with a baby, such as being stillborn or the victim of a cot death, is significantly increased if the mother smokes during pregnancy.' But be warned - many of those who quit smoking while pregnant take up the habit at a later date. 'Up to 60% of women who stop smoking during pregnancy relapse within six months of the birth, while up to 80% return to smoking within 12 months,' warns Dr Andy McEwen, Cancer Research UK deputy director of tobacco studies.
Reuters (© Reuters)
Sir Anthony Hopkins :€“ Book lover
The Academy award-winning actor kicked the cancer sticks years ago, but relies on a self-help book to fight the cravings he still gets. Hopkins' book of choice? Allen Carr's The Easy Way to Stop Smoking, which is also a favourite of Ashton Kutcher and Britney Spears. Hopkins described Carr's method, which centres on the belief that a cycle of fear is what prevents people from quitting successfully, as 'not only easy but unbelievably enjoyable'.
'To say that a book can help you quit smoking is a little like saying that a pill can cure an illness,' says John Dicey, worldwide director at Allen Carr's Easyway International Ltd. 'While it obviously depends on what the pill (or book) contains, the beauty of a self-help book is that the reader can review again and again parts which perhaps seem a little less clear or less simple to them.'
Reuters (© Reuters)
Charlize Theron : Natural high
If you're a smoker, you'll know how much harder exercise can be, so it makes perfect sense that Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron's decision to ditch the cigarettes was helped by a newfound love of exercise. Increased exercise can make the process of giving up smoking easier by creating a natural high that replaces a nicotine fix and helps fight the anxiety which causes many to reach for a cigarette in the first place. 'Short bursts of moderate physical activity can definitely help reduce urges to smoke,' agrees Dr McEwen at Cancer Research UK.
Rex features (© Rex Features)
Catherine Zeta-Jones : Doing it for the kids
Catherine Zeta-Jones quit smoking when it became obvious she wasn't setting a good example for her children. 'I have to stop because they're at the age when they're going to start asking questions,' she told the Daily Mirror at the time. 'The short and long-term damage to children's health caused by passive smoking should not be underestimated,' says Dr Liz Edwards, paediatric respiratory fellow at the Royal Brompton Hospital. 'Smoke from one cigarette lingers in the air for more than two hours, even with the window open. This smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals and poisons, including arsenic, ammonia, the insecticide DDT and formaldehyde. Children of parents who smoke inhale about 60 to 150 cigarettes' worth of nicotine a year.'
Reuters (© Reuters)
Courteney Cox and David Arquette - Power in numbers
When Courteney Cox and ex husband David Arquette decided to quit the evil weed, the fact they were both fighting the same battle made a huge difference - studies have shown those quitting at the same time as a close friend or loved one stand a better chance of success. 'It's terrific when your spouse will quit with you,' says Cheryl Healton, president and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation, which works to educate young people about the dangers of tobacco. 'Additionally, a national study found that having a spouse who has previously quit smoking is also associated with higher rates of quitting, compared with cases where the spouse continues to smoke.
Rex features (© Rex Features)
Julie Christie :€“ Therapy
Screen siren Julie Christie turned to therapy in her fight to give up smoking, which is no mean feat for an actress who was expected to smoke for many of her film roles. Steve Neesam, qualified psychotherapist and founder of, believes counselling can help by encouraging people to look at why they started smoking in the first place. 'Smokers become creatures of unthinking habit and counselling allows space for the smoker to gain insight into why they started smoking and which triggers find them reaching for a cigarette,' explains Steve. If you're considering turning to counselling, it's important to do your research, adds Christopher Morgan-Locke, addiction therapist and clinical director at 'Always try to get personal recommendations, and check that the therapist is a member of one of the relevant professional bodies such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).'
rex features (© Rex Features)
Lady Victoria Hervey - Helping hand
While you might think that puffing on an electronic cigarette might seem a poor substitute for the real thing, electronic cigarettes are able to deliver a hit of nicotine quicker than many types of gum or patches. 'Being able to quickly manage cravings is one of the most important aspects for smokers trying to quit,' says Gay Sutherland, research psychologist at the Tobacco Research Unit, King's College. 'After taking a puff on a cigarette, smokers get a nicotine hit to the brain within around 20 seconds. Most nicotine replacement therapies can take between 30 minutes and three hours to deliver their effect so an innovation that can help smokers rapidly manage their cravings could be the key to unlocking smokers from their dependency.'

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