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Smoking Cessation

Why quit smoking?

Despite the overwhelming evidence of harm many people continue to smoke. For young people this is often because they “enjoy” an occasional cigarette at parties, not realising that as with any drug they are likely to develop dependence. Sadly the number of young people taking up smoking persists. There is evidence that pricing, influences this group disproportionately and an increase in tobacco pricing discourages young people, acquiring the habit more than those with an established habit.

Smoking causes significant harm because it leads to physical ill health in the form of lung disease, increased rates of cancer, cardiovascular disease and dementia. It is also addictive; that is once the habit is acquired users of tobacco require repeated doses to stimulate the brain to produce the substances (neurotransmitters) that make smokers feel the relief they enjoy whilst using the substance. These substances are often the same as those we associated with happiness and well-being. As a consequence users seek repeated stimulation to prevent the effects of withdrawal. These include fatigue, cravings, irritability and poor concentration, headaches and nausea.

Despite this smoking cessation has considerable benefits.

  1. Within ten years the risk of lung cancer is halved

  2. Within 2 months insulin resistance (a key trigger for diabetes) improves

  3. Within 3 months heart attack risk is reduced and lung function improves

  4. Smoking cessation improves fertility and

  5. Can save people considerable amounts of money.

Smoking Cessation, Where to start

It is useful to consider what the potential benefits of quitting smoking are. Quitting smoking can lower your chances of dying from heart disease, lung disease, kidney failure, infection, or cancer. It can also lower your chances of getting osteoporosis, a condition that makes your bones weak. Plus, quitting smoking can help your skin look younger and reduce the chances that you will have problems with sex.

Quitting smoking will improve your health no matter how old you are, and no matter how long or how much you have smoked. As a guideline it may be useful to consider doing a number of things which increase your chances of a successful attempt to stop.

S = Set a quit date.

T = Tell family, friends, and the people around you that you plan to quit.

A = Anticipate or plan ahead for the tough times you'll face while quitting.

R = Remove cigarettes and other tobacco products from your home, car, and work.

T = Talk to your doctor about getting help to quit.

People who try to quit without the help of their peers or the support of drugs, such as nicotine replacement therapy have much lower success rates than those who seek help. Whilst seeking help is no guarantee of success there is a greater than ten fold difference of success between those trying alone and those getting support from the very best smoking cessation services.

The NHS provide support and a useful app that can be downloaded to your device to support people wanting to quit at https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree

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