Keep going, you can do it!

October is the month that the NHS runs its “Stoptober” campaign to help people with stopping smoking. With us being in the middle of the month, here is some information to support you during the process.

Smoking is bad for your health, this is not new information. It is the biggest cause of preventable deaths in England each year, and half of all smokers will die from a smoking related disease. Half of all smokers. That is just dying from a smoking related disease. Suffering from a smoking related disease is even higher.

Smoking damages your heart, lungs, skin, stomach, circulation, mouth, throat, bones, fertility, and even can cause impotence.

Again, this is not new information, but in spite of this 14.9% of adults in the UK are smokers. 10.8% of mothers are smokers at the time of delivery. Nearly 11% of babies being born having grown inside someone who smokes.

So why is it so hard to quit?

Top of the list would have to be nicotine. It is a very powerful addictive substance, so stopping consuming it leads to symptoms of withdrawal which can be unpleasant.

Added in with that however is the habit. The habit of smoking at set times. The habit of talking to people whilst smoking. The habit of having something in your mouth/hand.

The NHS Stoptober website has many tips and plans to help you quit, and I will share a few of them here.

1. Think Positive

Stumbling is not failing. If you have tried to stop smoking and relapsed in the past, it is in the past. Keep trying. An error does not make you a failure, it just gives you experience to learn from.

2. Set a Date

Decide when you are stopping and stop on that date. A significant date can make it easier. Remember to think about your plans around that date — choosing a day when you have a big party with many smokers might not work out so well.

3. Change Your Diet

That sounds a little like telling you to stop smoking and to cut out all the food you love, but that isn’t it. Some foods, such as meat, make cigarettes taste better, others, like cheese and vegetables make them taste bad — increase the bad taste inducers to put you off.

4. Change Your Drink

Like with the food, some drinks go well with smoking, and some don’t. Switching to fruit juice instead of fizzy drinks, tea, coffee, or alcohol will help with the negative taste association.

5. Find Distractions

Cravings can last 5 minutes. Come up with a list of 5 minute distractions for when you have cravings.

6. Exercise

Moving helps the brain create the right chemicals to reduce craving.

7. Keep Your Hands Busy

You have spent however long with something in your hand or mouth for a large portion of your day. Replace that. Switch your drink to your cigarette hand. Chew gum. Drink from a straw. Use cigarette replacements.

8. List Reasons

List why you are quitting. Having a list to remind you why you want to do this and looking back to it when you’re having a wibble can help to enforce your resolve.

9. Get Support

Did you know that you are FOUR TIMES more likely successfully stop smoking with expert support? Call the NHS Smokefree Helpline (0300 123 1044) for more information.

A different take on things

This list is a very traditional set of advice. I found this article yesterday which gave a slightly different take on things.

Quitting Smoking Is Hard, Becoming A Non-Smoker Is Not

It isn’t about stopping smoking, but about becoming a non-smoker. Starting something is far easier mentally than stopping it.

Plan for when you will be a non-smoker and achieve it.

What happens when you stop?

You can see improvements after just one hour of stopping, with your heart rate returning to normal, and your blood pressure beginning to drop.

In 12 hours, the body has a normal level of carbon monoxide in it again.

Just one day stopping smoking is enough to begin to reduce the risk of heart attack.

In a year the risk of heart disease is down by a half.

Don’t think that is it too late and the damage caused by smoking is irreversible. The body can heal, given the chance.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

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