There’s never been a better time to give up smoking as quitting success rates reach the highest ever on record and cigarettes are more tightly regulated than ever before.
Last year, out of the 2.5 million smokers who made a quit attempt, 500,000 people (20 per cent) were successful - the highest recorded success rate and up from just 13.6 per cent six years ago.
Now smokers across the country are being urged to take part in Stoptober – the mass quitting challenge from Public Health England starting on October 1 – and join the nearly 15 million people who have already quit. You should notice the benefits to your health and your bank balance very quickly.
You are five times more likely to stay smokefree if you can stop for 28 days, so, if you’re keen to quit smoking this October, search ‘Stoptober’ to find out about the range of free and proven support available to help you start your quitting journey.
Don’t stop there though, to ensure the best chance of making it 28 days smokefree, why not get prepared by following these five simple tips from TV medic Dr Hilary Jones:
1. The quit list
Begin by writing out a list of reasons why you want to quit smoking.
For example, think about how much money you’ll save or the benefits to your health, perhaps you want to quit for your family. The list will not only reinforce your decision to stop smoking for Stoptober, but you’ll also find it a handy tool to refer to on those difficult days when you feel your cravings are close to getting the better of you.
2. In the bin!
To help you stay strong and resist temptation during your days without smoking, throw away any last cigarettes, lighters or anything that reminds you of being a smoker. You can then make a clean smokefree start with no temptations.
3. Take up a new hobby
When you stop smoking, you’ll be on the hunt for things to take your mind off cigarettes.
And research shows you could be up to twice as likely to stay smokefree for 12 months or more if you combine physical activity with your quit attempt.
Moving more eases nicotine withdrawal symptoms when you first quit smoking. It distracts you from thoughts of smoking and can improve your mood. It also helps you cope with stress and feel more energetic. It doesn’t stop there, your muscle tone will improve, you’ll feel a greater sense of accomplishment and your sleep will be improved.
4. Do what suits you
Remember, everyone’s quitting journey is different and there is no right or wrong. By searching ‘Stoptober’ online, you can find the right quitting method for you. As well as support from the thousands of others that are going smokefree for 28 days, Stoptober emails, Facebook Messenger and the mobile phone app are filled with tips and encouragement to keep you going.
There's also info about the free expert face-to-face support that your local Stop Smoking Service can offer, as well as detail on the different types of stop smoking aids available, including medicines and e-cigarettes.
5. Break your routines and be honest with yourself
For many people, smoking is a ritual that's often associated with certain times in your daily routine, so it’s a good idea to prepare yourself for some of the triggers that make you feel like having a cigarette.
Breaking the routine can help you break the habit, for example, if you used to have a cigarette with your morning coffee, try drinking tea instead. Or, if you take a cigarette break with a friend, why not go for a smokefree walk?
It's important to be honest with yourself and know what your smoking triggers are so you can prepare to deal with them. By writing them out and identifying ways around them for the first week or so, you will stand a better chance of remaining smokefree.
To keep you motivated, remember that cravings and temptations to smoke, whilst intense, don’t last long – just a few minutes.
What happens when you stop smoking?
Once you’ve stubbed out for Stoptober your health will quickly start to benefit. These are just some of the improvements you will experience throughout the 28 days and beyond:
- After 20 minutes - Your blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal
- After 8 hours - Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by half and oxygen levels return to normal
- After 48 hours - Carbon monoxide will be eliminated from your body. Lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris. There is no nicotine in the body and you ability to taste and smell is greatly improved
- After 72 hours - Breathing becomes easier. Bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy levels increase
- After 2 to 12 weeks - Your circulation improves
- After 3 to 9 months - Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as your lung function increases by up to 10 per cent
To take part in the nation’s biggest mass quit attempt, search Stoptober online or visit www.nhs.uk/oneyou/stoptober
- For more health advice, grab the latest copy of Yours.