With around 100,000 people in the UK dying from smoking per year, it is one of the nation’s biggest causes of death.
Did you know each cigarette has around 4,000 chemicals, many of which are known to be toxic? Ammonia, tar, carbon monoxide and arsenic are some of the chemicals you would breathe in when smoking.
Smoking can damage your heart and blood circulation, brain as well as your lungs and cause diseases including heart disease, cervical cancer, lung cancer and stroke.
Chewing smokeless tobacco such as paan or gutkha is popular amongst people from south Asian communities. All forms of tobacco can damage your health and using smokeless tobacco raises the risk of mouth cancer. Smoking bidi and shisha can also increase your risk of cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease.
The benefits of not smoking are huge and quitting smoking can make a real difference to your lifestyle and health.
Here are some of the benefits of giving up smoking:
- Better breathing – Giving up smoking will allow you to breathe more easily and cough less. Lung capacity can also increase by up to 10 percent within nine months of giving up.
- Longer life – Stopping smoking can not only add years to your life, it can also improve your chances of living a disease-free and mobile life.
- Younger looking skin – The skin of a non-smoker gets more nutrients and without these nutrients skin can start looking sallow.
- Improved fertility – Non smokers find it easier to get pregnant and have a reduced chance of having a miscarriage. Being a non-smoker also improves the chances of giving birth to a healthy baby.
- More energy – Within two to 12 weeks of stopping smoking your circulation will improve and as a result, you will be able to walk and run much easier. Giving up smoking can also boost your immune system.
Making small changes to your lifestyle can play a part in helping you quit. Here are some tips to help you give up smoking. Firstly think positive. Make a plan to stop smoking and stick to it.
Create a list of reasons as to why you want to quit. Keep the list in a place where you can see it. Chances of having cancer, heart attacks or stroke as well as your blood pressure going down are some of the reasons you may wish to include on your list. Talk to your friends and family for support. Why not suggest to other smokers you know that you give up together? The more support and encouragement you can get the better.
Your local Stop Smoking Service will be able to provide expert advice and support to help you stop smoking. Free ‘Quit Kits’ can be picked up at local pharmacies. The kits will include practical tools and advice to help you quit.
Avoid temptation. It might be helpful to avoid situations where you usually smoke. Don’t give in to the temptation to have just one cigarette. Try to distract yourself by doing something else instead.
You can get nicotine replacement therapy for free or on prescription from your local NHS Stop Smoking Service or GP. Using nicotine patches will help reduce everyday cravings and you can also use nasal spray, gum, lozenges, inhalator or mouth spray for sudden cravings.
Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, runs Birmingham Heartlands, Solihull and Good Hope Hospitals, Birmingham Chest Clinic and Solihull Community Services and is one of the top five employers in the region.