There are plenty of tall tales told about smoking.
Some say it’s harder than heroin to quit. Others like to announce “once a smoker, always a smoker”.
Despite these nuggets of home-spun wisdom, there is plenty of evidence out there to the contrary, with thousands of people each year giving up the habit for good.
Every journey starts with a single step, and so it is with giving up nicotine. Many smokers can wrestle for years with the notion of quitting, yet never find the right time to put their plan into action.
Sometimes all you need is the right push and a bit of encouragement. That is why Public Health England (PHE) has launched its ‘Stoptober’ campaign, which challenges the UK’s eight million smokers to put away all their tobacco products for a month.
Joining the event could even see you quit for good; research from PHE shows that people who manage four smoke-free weeks in a row are five times more likely to completely stop.
Reasons to stop smoking
Most people know that smoking tobacco greatly increases the risk of developing a number of serious conditions, including:
- lung cancer
- heart disease
- chronic obstructive Pulmonary diseas (COPD)
Yet even armed with this knowledge, many continue to light up on a daily basis, proving that nicotine’s addictive effects are nothing to be ignored.
Here are a few reasons to quit that you might not know about.
Quitting smoking will:
- Keep you looking young. Smoking stops your skin from receiving the vitamins and nutrients it needs to stay looking healthy, leading to premature wrinkles.
- Give you more time with your loved ones. We know that people who smoke are more vulnerable to a host of life-threatening conditions. This translates into an increased risk of premature death. By giving up smoking, you improve your chances of living longer and being there for your partner, children or grandchildren.
- Boost your energy levels. With improved lung function comes increased energy. Smokers might not realise it, but the wheezing and coughing that can accompany physical exertion takes its toll. People who quit smoking are often surprised at what they can do before tiring.
- Make food taste better. Chemicals contained in tobacco can dull the senses of taste and smell. Quitting smoking opens up a world of epicurean delights that you may have forgotten about.
How to quit smoking for Stoptober
We’ve looked at the benefits of quitting smoking, now let’s consider some of the strategies that will help you stub out your last butt.
- Make a list of reasons to quit. Sometimes you need to remind yourself of all the good reasons for quitting, especially when you’re battling the cravings. A list of reasons to quit can help keep you focused on the goal.
- A clean break. Some people like to take the hard way out and stop with no help at all. This is often the quickest way, but not always the easiest. If you think you can go it alone then give it a try. But if you are just setting yourself up for a fall, think about using some quitting aids which will save you time and energy in the long run.
- Get the help of an expert. There are many advice centres and helplines that can offer you words of wisdom and encouragement on the best ways to stop smoking. The NHS offers a free Quit Kit, as well as professional advice over the phone, by email or by online chat.
- Patches, gum and e-cigarettes. These forms of nicotine replacement therapy may not cure your addiction to nicotine completely, but they can be great ways of getting out of the habit of smoking and helping you cut down.
- Alternative therapies. Some people claim that techniques such as hypnosis and acupuncture have cured them of nicotine addiction. The jury is still out on such practices.
- Prescription medicine. Drugs such as Champix contain no nicotine. They are widely used to alleviate symptoms of withdrawal while blocking cravings. Champix contains the active ingredient varenicline, which mimics the effects of nicotine without delivering the addictive qualities. You can order Champix quickly and conveniently through our online service.
There are many reasons to give up smoking and very few to continue, so why not take charge and give it a go.
So far, over 200,000 people have signed up to this year’s Stoptober challenge. Join them by registering on the Stoptober website, and receive a range of free support tools from apps to quit smoking packs.