Quit Smoking

Overview

Not only is smoking bad for your health but it is also very expensive. Just think of how much you could save or treat yourself with if you quit smoking.

The best incentive you could have to quit smoking though is the benefits to you health. Take a look at the '10 health benefits' below, then the 'Top 10 Tips to Quit Smoking'.

10 Health Benefits to Quit Smoking

1. Stopping smoking lets you breathe more easily

  • People breathe more easily and cough less when they give up smoking because their lung capacity gets better by up to 10% within 9 months.
  • In your 20s and 30s, the effect of smoking on your lung capacity may not be noticeable until you go for a run, but lung capacity naturally reduces with age.
  • When you are older, having maximum lung capacity can mean the difference between having an active, healthy old age and wheezing when you go for a walk or climb the stairs.

2. Stopping smoking gives you more energy

  • Within 2 to 12 weeks of stopping smoking, your blood circulation gets better. This makes all physical activity, including walking and running, much easier.
  • You will also give a boost to your immune system, making it easier to fight off colds and flu. The increase in oxygen in the body can also reduce tiredness and the likelihood of headaches.

3. Ditch the cigarettes and feel less stressed

  • The withdrawal from nicotine between cigarettes can heighten feelings of stress, it is easy to confuse normal stress with nicotine withdrawal but;
  • Scientific studies show people's stress levels are lower after they stop smoking.

4. Quitting leads to better sex

  • Stopping smoking improves the body's blood flow, and therefore improves sensitivity.
  • Men who stop smoking might get better erections. Women might find their orgasms improve and they become aroused more easily.
  • It has also been found that non-smokers are 3 times more appealing to prospective partners than smokers.

5. Stopping smoking improves fertility

  • Non-smokers find it easier to get pregnant. Quitting smoking makes the lining of the womb healthier and can make men's sperm more potent.
  • Becoming a non-smoker increases the possibility of getting pregnant through IVF and reduces the likelihood of having a miscarriage.
  • Most importantly, it increases the chances of giving birth to a healthy baby.

6. Stopping smoking improves smell and taste

  • When you stop smoking, your senses of smell and taste will get better.
  • You might notice that food tastes and smells different as your mouth and nose recover from being masked by the hundreds of toxic chemicals found in cigarettes.

7. Stop smoking for younger-looking skin

  • Stopping smoking can slow facial ageing and delay the appearance of wrinkles.
  • The skin of a non-smoker gets more nutrients, including oxygen, and stopping smoking can reverse the unhealthy, lined complexion smokers often have.

8. Ex-smokers have whiter teeth and sweeter breath

  • Giving up tobacco stops teeth becoming stained, and you will have much fresher breath.
  • Ex-smokers are also less likely than smokers to get gum disease and lose their teeth early in their life.

9. Quit smoking to live longer

  • Half of all long-term smokers die early from smoking-related diseases, including heart disease, lung cancer and chronic bronchitis.
  • Men who quit smoking by the age of 30 add 10 years to their life. People who kick the habit at 60 add 3 years to their life.
  • Being smoke-free not only adds years to your life, it also greatly improves your chances of a disease-free, mobile, happier later life.

10. A smoke-free home protects your loved ones

  • By stopping smoking, you will protect the health of your non-smoking friends and family, too.
  • Breathing in secondhand smoke increases the risk of lung cancer, heart disease and stroke.
  • In children, 'passive smoking' doubles the risk of getting chest illnesses, including pneumonia, ear infections, wheezing and asthma.
  • 'Passive smokers' also have 3 times the risk of getting lung cancer in later life compared with children who live with non-smokers.

Visit the NHS website to read more about the dangers of passive smoking.

10 Tips to Quit Smoking

1. Pick a quit date

Choose a day that will be stress free and stick to it.

2. Make a list

Write down all the reasons you want to quit. Keep the list handy and read it when your cravings start.

3. Build a support network

Buddy up with someone else who is looking to give up smoking and support each other.

4. Remove any reminders

Before your quit date, get rid of your ashtrays, lighters and matches, and any remaining cigarettes.

5. Use stop smoking services

Contact your local NHS Stop Smoking Service for support from trained specialists.

6. Try nicotine replacement therapy

Consider using nicotine replacement therapy, which can more than double your chances of stopping smoking.

  • Read about e-cigarettes and whether they can help quit smoking

7. Start moving

Scientific studies have proven that exercise, even as little as a five minute walk or stretch, reduces the urge to smoke and may even help your brain produce anti-craving chemicals.

8. Avoid trigger situations

Anticipate stressful or trigger situations. So, if you smoke after a meal, go for a short walk instead.

9. Practise saying “no”

Don’t be tempted by just one cigarette; it often leads to another.

10. Treat yourself

Put away some, or all, of the money you would have spent on cigarettes and buy something special.

Stop Smoking Treatments

If you want to stop smoking, there are several different treatments are available from shops, pharmacies and on prescription to help you beat your addiction and reduce withdrawal symptoms.

The best treatment for you will depend on your personal preference, your age, whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding and any medical conditions you have. Speak to your GP or an NHS stop smoking adviser for advice.

Research shows that all these methods can be effective. Importantly, evidence shows that they are most effective if used alongside support from an NHS stop smoking service.

Visit the NHS website to find out more about the stop smoking treatments available and find out how to get started with stopping smoking.