Surviving without cigarettes during the lockdown

Surviving without cigarettes during the lockdown

Rafeeq Ferguson, a former smoker and the founder of 'KhulumaEd-Diction' rehabilitation centre, shares tips on how to quit smoking.

Cigarettes/ iStock

On Wednesday, 29 April, Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma announced that cigarette sales are not allowed under level 4 of the lockdown in South Africa. This means many smokers will still not be able to buy cigarettes.

READ: Sale of cigarettes, other tobacco products now banned under Level 4

Unfortunately, surviving without a cigarette if you are used to smoking is not easy.  

Rafeeq Ferguson, who smoked for 30 years and is now a non-smoker, says quitting starts with an individual’s desire to quit.

“Having been a smoker for almost 30 years myself and now a non-smoker, in my experience it differs from individual to individual depending on the will power to stop smoking.”

“Recovering from any addiction is never easy,” says Rafeeq, whose rehabilitation centre has been helping substance abuse addicts for over a decade. 

“There is no cure. It is up to the individual to take a standpoint in his life and say: 'Listen here, I've come to a point now where I don't have access to cigarettes, so I've got to change my thought pattern. I've got to change my mindset',” he adds.  

READ: Could E-Cigarettes be the solution to help quit smoking?

However, Rafeeq says another great motivation to quit smoking is the health factor.

“You have got to decide what is important. My family, my life, my health, because it is proven that people who smoke have got much less of a lifespan. To stop smoking would extend your life,” he says.

Rafeeq says some people smoke to relieve stress, and therefore it is important to talk about the underlying issues with your family, or a professional.

The best way to quit smoking, according to Rafeeq, is to substitute it with some form of activity. 

“Substitute smoking with any form of exercise, whether it be breathing exercises or taking a walk or doing some aerobics, or doing some exercise in the lounge or the bedroom with you and your family,” he says.

Rafeeq says people who are used to smoking and can’t smoke often get grumpy, argumentative, and some might even eat a lot. So, it is important to take charge of your feelings during the recovery process.

READ: #ECRQuitSmoking: Thandolwethu talks about the relationship between you and your cigarettes

Image courtesy of iStock/@Sergei Chuyko

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