No matter how you take your tobacco whether it is chewing, cigars, bidi, shisha, in a pipe or by plain old cigarettes – you are still at risk of cancer, and they are addictive. There is no safe way to use tobacco.
Stopping smoking can make a drastic improvement to your lifestyle and health in ways you might not expect. Once you stop smoking, some of the benefits are immediate and some are longer-term. Even after just 20 minutes of stopping smoking, your blood pressure and pulse rate returns to normal. After 2 days all carbon monoxide escapes the body and the lungs start to clear debris. Other effects are more long term but massive in terms of returning your good health – such as after 5 years, your risk of a heart attack falls by 50% and after 10 years your risk of lung cancer falls by 50%.
Not only could your health improve, but there could be financial improvement too. With the rising prices of cigarettes it is a fact that you will save money - the average smoker has 13 cigarettes a day, which works out as 364 cigarettes a month. That’s £141 a month and £1,696 a year that you could be saving by not smoking. Quitting might seem like a real challenge, but if you could see the harm it causes you wouldn’t smoke.
no matter how careful you think you’re being, your family still breathe exposed to it, but children are especially vulnerable. They breathe faster, which means they take in proportionately more toxins per body weight
Nearly three quarters of children worry that their mum or dad will die because they smoke. Not only that, but if you smoke, your children are three times more likely to smoke when they grow up.
Quitting is easier if you know what to expect - From the moment you stop smoking, your body starts its recovery process. During this time you may find that you experience some nicotine withdrawal and recovery symptoms, such as:
- The urge to smoke
- Difficulty sleeping
These are all temporary symptoms though and there is a lot of help out there to make this process easier. Stop smoking medicines, such as Champix, Zyban or nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can really help you to manage your cravings. All of these are available on prescription from your doctor.
There are other things that may help too like:
- The NHS Quitkit
- The smokefree mobile app
- Free local NHS Stop Smoking Service
- Email support from the NHS
- Support groups
Just because you’ve tried to quit before and haven’t succeeded, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Use simple distraction techniques such as talking to someone, going for a brisk walk, staying busy, having a glass of cold water or being creative.
There are many myths about stopping smoking like weight gain. When you stop smoking, your appetite and sense of taste may improve, tempting you to snack more often. However once you are feeling fitter and are more mobile, any weight you do gain will be quickly lost.
For more help and support call the NHS Smoking Helpline on 0300 123 1044.