By Sarah Stables
Stoptober is back this October encouraging people to take up the 28-day stop smoking challenge. If you are a smoker, this may be the perfect time to think about giving up.
Around 100,000 people die from smoking every year in the United Kingdom and is one of the nation’s biggest causes of death. Did you know each cigarette has approximately 4,000 chemicals, many of which are 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. It can also cause diseases such as cervical and lung cancer as well as stroke. Chewing smokeless tobacco such as paan or gutkha is popular amongst people from British /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 increase your risk of cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease.
It is difficult to quit but the benefits of not smoking are huge. Here are some of the benefits 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 will 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 also make a big difference in helping you quit. Create a list of reasons as to why you want to stop smoking. Keep the list in a place where you can see it.
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. 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.
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. 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.
For more advice on how to stop smoking, visit the NHS Smokefree website. 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.