We all know that smoking is bad for our health, however there are still approximately 10 million adults in the UK who smoke and only 30-40% of them try to quit smoking each year. Of the overall population, 19% of adults smoke, with 20% being men and 17% women.
Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable deaths in England “accounting for more than 80,000 deaths each year”, according to the NHS. This means that one in two smokers will die from a smoking-related disease. Astonishingly, the approximate number of people killed by tobacco worldwide comes in at 5.6 Million!
Smoking affects your body in many ways. Alongside other things, smoking causes high blood pressure, doubles your risk of heart attack, ages your skin by between 10 and 20 years and increases your risk of stroke by at least 50%.
Support to quit smoking
You do not have to give up smoking cold turkey with no support. There are many strategies and tactics you can use to stop smoking that will help with cravings and generally make the process easier. The main thing is to stay as positive as you can – which we know won’t always be easy!
Even if you have attempted to quit smoking a hundred times before, believe that this time is the time. Following the tips below will help you to be successful.
Use Electronic Cigarettes
In recent times, e-cigarettes (also called vaping) have become something of a miracle to many of those giving up smoking. Around three million people currently use an e-cigarette and most of those are using an e-cigarette as a way of giving up smoking completely.
E-cigarettes are a much safer way of inhaling nicotine than cigarettes and are the perfect way to manage cravings. The small hand-held device vaporises a flavoured liquid that is inhaled by the user, in a very similar way to smoking a cigarette. E-cigarettes come in different forms so it is always useful to get advice on the best option before you take up vaping.
Your local Stop Smoking Service will be able offer advice on the correct support for you.
You don’t have to give up smoking alone. Right now is actually a perfect time to quit as Stoptober is in full swing. For the whole month of October, a month-long event encourages people to give up smoking together. Through the Stoptober website you can receive daily email support, chat to the stop smoking bot and watch videos of other people’s stories.
Tell everyone you know. It’s always easier when your friends and family are watching out for you. For example, your colleagues may be more subtle about their cigarette breaks if you tell them you are stopping. Some people may even join you on your non-smoking journey. It is always useful to have people in a similar situation to talk to and support each other through the quitting process.
Apps are another way of getting support. For example, Smoke-Free provides different techniques to help you carry on. It will tell you how many cigarettes you haven’t smoked, how your health is improving and how much money you’ve saved. Looking at these figures when experiencing a craving will encourage you to carry on.
Fight the craving
Nicotine cravings can last a few months but the worst are normally over after just a few days. Come up with some tactics to fight off cravings. Carry snacks (healthy, if possible!) with you so that when a craving hits, you can keep you hands and mouth busy.
You should also try and do something to distract yourself when you get a craving. Moving your body is the most effective way, so if you can, go for a walk or run. If that’s not possible, do some stretches where you are sitting, play a game on your phone or have a chat with someone.
Quit Smoking Medicines
You may want to use medication to quit smoking. There are a few different treatments you can use. The best treatment for you will depend on age, health and personal preference. Your GP or pharmacist will be able to advise on the best option for you.
The most popular is nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). This treatment gives you small doses of nicotine without the toxic ingredients that are in cigarettes. NRT is available as chewing gum, tablets, sprays and can come in various other forms too. These can be bought in pharmacies and shops as well as by prescription from a doctor. NRT helps with uncomfortable side effects like mood swings and cravings.
Think of the money
According to The Telegraph, the average price of 20 Marlboro in the UK last year was £9.60. In 2015, a 20-a-day smoker of such a premium brand spent around £3000 per year on cigarettes. Overall, the price of tobacco rose by 87% between 2004 and 2014 – with more taxes on the horizon.
The government are rightfully pushing to decrease the number of people smoking in the UK and this will lead to price increases. Just step back for a moment and imagine what you could do with the spare cash.
You could treat you and your family to a nice holiday, go out for nice meals, buy a trendy new car or simply treat yourself to a day out at the football or seaside. The amount of money that you could save is staggering.
If you work together with your friends, family and medical experts then you can quit smoking for good!