This month (October 2012) sees the launch of a national campaign by the NHS aimed at all UK smokers, challenging them to quit for at least 28 of the month’s 30 days.
The dangers of smoking are well documented but just to remind smokers, every puff of tobacco smoke contains a nasty cocktail of more than 4,000 chemicals including tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, ammonia and arsenic, of which 60 are known to cause various types of cancer.
These include cancer of the lungs, throat, mouth, pancreas, kidneys and bladder, and there is an increased risk of other cancers too.
The host of other reasons to quit include:
- high cost of smoking
- dangers of passive smoking for those around you, including loved ones
- fire risk – more people die in fires caused by smoking than any other source
It’s never too late to quit – even after years of smoking – as the health benefits of stopping start approximately 20 minutes after your last cigarette when blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal.
Quitting your bad fag habit is a challenge but people who plan and prepare to stop smoking are much more likely to be successful.
Smokers have to believe they can do it and they may also have to avoid situations for a while where not smoking could prove difficult, such as going to the pub with friends or having the in laws round to dinner.
Most people make several attempts to quit before they finally succeed. Here are some simple pointers to help smokers stop once and for all:
- set a quit date
- clear out all reminders of smoking – cigarettes, tobacco, ashtrays, matches – and make your home a smoke free zone
- Practise the four Ds:
- delay – until cravings pass
- drink – plenty of water
- distract yourself – do something else to take your mind off smoking
- deep breathing – take long slow breaths and try to relax
- Contact a quit smoking helpline or website including NHS smokefree on 0800 0224332 or www.smokefree.nhs.uk.
- Talk to your OH advisor, GP or pharmacist about stop smoking medications and ask for their support
And finally, never give up giving up! It’s worth it in the end.