If you smoke and have ever tried to give up, you will know how hard it can be. Smoking is addictive and habit forming and it is therefore a formidable force you have to reckon with when trying to quit. The good news is that once you smoke your last cigarette, you begin reaping the benefits immediately:
After 20 minutes your blood pressure and heart rate return to normal
After 20 hours the carbon monoxide goes from your body
After three days breathing becomes easier
After a few weeks your fingers will no longer be stained yellow and your skin will look healthier
Between and three and nine months after quitting the mucus and tar in your lungs will clear and you will feel much healthier
After a year you are half as likely to have a heart attack as a smoker is
When you give up you won’t smell of smoke or have smelly breath anymore, plus you’ll have more money and won’t have to stand out in the cold to smoke.
Tips for Quitting
Giving up smoking can be hard but we've put together some top tips to help you:
Plan in advance when to quit. Choose your day wisely, will it be easier to quit during the week or over a weekend? Is it better to quit when you’re going to be busy or when you have plenty spare time and are more relaxed?
Get rid of things around you that act as a reminder – such as ashtrays and lighters.
Plan a treat after the first day, week and month. It will give you something to look forward to and distract you from the craving.
Try to break the link between smoking and the situations you find yourself in, like sitting down with a cigarette and calling your friends or lighting up with a coffee. Drink fruit juice or sugar-free drinks instead, sipping water can also help with cravings.
If you think you are more likely to smoke when drinking, consider avoiding alcohol for a while. If you cannot totally avoid it, try another drink, breaking all those habits associated with your smoking will help.
Many people have found stopping with a friend can really help. At the very least tell family and friends you’ve decided to stop and ask them for their understanding and support
If you stop smoking, but start up again, don’t lose faith; set another date and try again. For many people it takes several attempts before they are successful. Not managing to quit on the date you set yourself isn't a failure - if you keep it in your mind to try again. The real failure is when you stop trying
Support For You
The good news is that there is a lot of support to help you stop smoking, it’s not something you need to struggle with on your own. The Can Stop Smoking website has details of NHS support services in your area. You can also call Smokeline for support and information on local services. They also offer live chat support service.
There are nicotine replacement products that can help, for example patches, chewing gum or nasal sprays. You can buy some of these over the counter at the chemist but it’s probably worth asking for advice from the pharmacist as to the one that may be best for you. Other products need to be prescribed, and it’s a good idea to see your doctor about stopping smoking anyway as they can give your further support and advice.
Some people try things like hypnotherapy or acupuncture but it’s not clear how effective they are.
Smokeline - For further help to stop smoking call the Smokeline on 0800 84 84 84
Smokefree- More detailed information about the benefits of quitting smoking. This is an English website so you will be unable to use the services advertised on the site. Please use Can Stop Smoking if you would like individual advice and support.
Can stop smoking- Use the cost calculator to find out how much you could save, take the addiction test and use the quit calendar if you want more support on your quest to kick the habit. Can Stop Smoking Live Webchat - If you don't fancy talking to someone on the phone about stopping smoking, you can always chat to a Smokeline advisor live online. The service is available through the Can Stop Smoking site every evening between 8 and 10pm.