Friendly advice and encouragement on quitting smoking from Online Doctor’s Kieran Seyan
Ask anyone who’s quit smoking and they’ll tell you it’s not easy. The uniquely addictive properties of nicotine make cigarettes and other tobacco products incredibly difficult to give up once you’ve gotten into the habit. Although numbers of smokers are in decline, there are still 9.1 million adult smokers in the UK, only 30-40% of whom attempt to quit each year.
To help smokers, quit, many health bodies around the world run stop smoking campaigns across the year. One example is Public Health England’s Stoptober, which runs for 28 days across October.
Though Stoptober has only been going for five years, it’s driven over one million attempts to quit smoking to date. The campaign came about on the back of research showing that you are five times more likely to quit smoking for good if you stop completely for 28 days.
This year, the LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor team are getting involved in the action by running a Stoptober campaign of our own. Starting on Sunday 1st October, Dr Kieran Seyan will be spending 28 days sharing tips and advice on how to quit smoking for good. For the duration of Stoptober, anybody participating will be able to use our site for hints, tips and some much-needed encouragement.
If you’d like to get involved with LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor’s Stoptober, make sure you’re following us on Facebook. Come October 1st you can start checking in with our site and embark on your quitting journey. Until then, read the following guide for a few reasons why you should get involved this October.
The benefits of quitting smoking
Your main priority in quitting smoking should be your health. Cigarettes contain over 7,000 chemical compounds, some of which cause cancer, and some of which are poisonous to the body in other ways.
Medical conditions which can be caused by smoking include:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Stomach cancer
- Lung cancer
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Cancer of the throat or mouth
Smoking has also been shown to affect sexual function and fertility; men who smoke can develop erectile dysfunction, and women who smoke can have more trouble conceiving.
On a more superficial level, cigarettes cause the nasty side effects of prematurely ageing your skin, turning your nails and fingers yellow, and making you smell of smoke. It’s also a habit that tends to deaden your taste buds and sense of smell, which makes cooking and eating less enjoyable.
Quitting smoking can be hugely beneficial for the health of your friends and loved ones – and particularly children. Passive smoking is responsible for almost 10,000 hospital admissions for children each year.
How much money can I save?
The price of cigarettes is increasing all the time, meaning it’s getting more and more expensive to be a smoker. With this handy calculator from the NHS you can quickly find out how much money you’ve spent and how much you could save by simply waving goodbye to cigarettes.
Smoking 11 cigarettes a day, at the cost of £9 per pack (of 20) costs £1,807 per year and £9034 over five years. That’s enough money to shell out for a brand-new Peugeot 108!
How long quitting takes
As we’ve already mentioned, quitting smoking is thought to be far easier to stick to if you can go 28 days in a row without reaching for a cigarette. But if you are considering giving up, you may be nervous about the inevitable cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
According to the British Lung Foundation, many people who quit smoking experience nicotine cravings for more than two weeks. The good news is that there are plenty of over-the-counter and prescription treatments that can help while you’re getting through the worst of your addiction.
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), stop smoking treatments like Champix, and e-cigarettes can all be helpful when you have first quit and are trying to manage your cravings.