Today is national No Smoking Day, so explore what services are available to you and make a change now. Quitting will improve your health (and faster than most people think) as well as making you significant savings.
Smoking causes the most preventable deaths in the whole of England, it is responsible for over 80,000 deaths each year. One in two smokers will die from a smoking-related disease.
Smoking can affect your brain, heart, lungs, circulation, stomach, skin, bones, mouth and throat, and reproductive systems. When you smoke the poisons from the cigarettes enter your blood stream, thickening your blood and hindering your circulation, increasing the chances of a blood clot or heart problem. Smoking increases your chance of having a stroke by 50%, as well as increasing the likelihood of stomach ulcers and cancers.
From the very moment you have your final cigarette however, your body begins to recover. Although you may feel nicotine withdrawal symptoms, these will pass. You may have an urge to smoke, feel restless, irritable and tired. You might also find it hard to sleep or concentrate.
To motivate yourself remember that within 8 hours of your last smoke the nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in your body will reduce by more than half and your oxygen levels will return to normal. After 48 hours carbon monoxide is completely eliminated and the lungs begin to clear of debris. From only two weeks in your circulation will begin to improve, as will coughing and wheezing, as lung function improves by 10%.
Smoke Free have 5 handy tips that will help you quit:
- Prepare for the day you quit and avoid temptation – choose a quit date that’s unlikely to be stressful and make sure you don’t have any cigarettes, lighters or matches on you. Avoid the pub or other places where people around you might be smoking.
- Download the free Smokefree app for mobile support wherever you are and get expert advice. Talk to your local NHS Stop Smoking Service, pharmacy team, doctor or practice nurse about stop smoking medicines that can help with nicotine withdrawal symptoms. You can find your local NHS Stop Smoking Service by using our postcode finder.
- Remember all the reasons why you’re quitting:
- Feeling great
- Reduced health risks
- Extra money in your pocket (our cost calculator will help you work out how much you spend on smoking)
- Improved breathing and general fitness
- Fresher breath
- An improved sense of smell and taste
- Less stress and anxiety
- Cleaner lungs and a stronger heart
- All of the stop smoking medicines in our guide are effective treatments to help you stop smoking, but everyone has their own way of coping with cravings so here are our top five distractions:
- Talk to someone – call a friend or relative to get some support
- Go for a brisk walk – this will help clear your head and lungs
- Stay busy – download the Smokefree app or play a game on your mobile phone
- Drink a glass of water or juice – keep yourself occupied for those crucial few minutes
- Change scene – just moving to another room can help, or step outside and get some fresh air
- Last but not least, remember there’s never “just one” cigarette. Keep busy, and if you find a certain time of day hard, try a new routine. You CAN do it! We’re here for you whenever you need a bit of extra support.