Many smokers know that smoking is not good for their health, nevertheless they underestimate the damage and think that a little puff every now and then does.
Nicotine drives up your blood pressure and heart rate, putting immediate and long term strain on your heart and arteries. The carbon monoxide in cigarettes means less life giving oxygen for all your tissues, including your heart. This is harmful to your health and can cut your life expectancy whether you smoke a lot, a little or are the victim of second hand smoke.
Wednesday 14 March marks National No Smoking Day. If you, or someone you know, would like to add up to ten healthier years to your life look through our tips on how to quit today.
No safe limit
Evidence suggests that those who smoke less than 1 cigarette a day over a lifetime
have a 64% higher risk of early death than those who don’t. Second hand smoke claims the lives of 890, 000 non-smokers each year. The number of years you’ve been exposed to smoke seems to be a greater indicator of risk than the number you smoke each day, so the earlier you or your nearest and dearest decide to quit the better.
Find YOUR Incentive
Tobacco kills 1 in 2 of its users. Not everyone really grasps the magnitude of the dangers involved in smoking, but even smokers who know the dangers and want to quit still need a little help. Hard-hitting graphic warnings are proven to help smokers ditch the habit (World Health Organization 2018). So whether it’s a shocking advert on TV that leaves a sickly taste (smokefreevideos), the hole in your wallet (why quit calculator) or simply wanting to live a more active lifestyle (BBC Sport, get inspired), seek inspiration from that one overriding incentive that will give you the final push to stub it out for good.
Give in to the pester power and make the commitment to stop known to loved ones who don’t smoke. Give them permission to crack the whip occasionally and get a few smoking buddies and colleagues on board to add a competitive edge. It’ll be much easier to quit if you have people routing for you.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy products such as gum, lozenges, patches or inhalers could also help take the edge off the cravings and could double your chance of quitting successfully. Choose wisely and look into types that help you to gradually wean off the nicotine not feed the habit.
Break the routine
Finding yourself with extra time when you would normally be smoking can lead to overwhelming cravings. In the early stages it’s important to remove all smoking devices such as lighters and find a healthy replacement that will leave you feeling in control. This could mean simply changing tasks with a 10 minute brisk walk, having a good laugh or going off and doing something completely different until the craving passes. If going to the pub after work is your trigger why not join a local sports club so you’re not missing out on social time but benefitting from fresher air and a stronger heart? You might also want to download an app or seek support from NHS Smokfree who can offer ongoing specialist support whilst keeping your fingers busy and mind focussed on quitting.
Live a healthier, happier, longer life and make your loved ones proud. Make a plan to stub it out for good today.