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Stop smoking: useful advice to help kick the habit

man smoking cigaretteGiving up smoking is hard work, yet there is plenty of good reason to do so. As of 2015, 17.2% of the adult population in the UK were smokers, despite there being in 2013 over 78,000 deaths caused by smoking among adults over 35 years of age in England alone. Fortunately, there is much information and support available to smokers who want to quit.

Before you give up smoking….

  • Make a list of all the reasons you want to quit. Of course, health and money are both huge factors, but try to make these reasons specific, such as, “I want to enjoy playing sport with my friends”, or, “I want to use the money I save from not smoking to go away for a long weekend”. It may be helpful to write your list on an index card so you can keep it with you for inspiration.
  • Identify your triggers. Most smokers have more than one thing that prompts them to smoke, such as needing a cigarette after a meal or while having a drink, or smoking when stressed. Knowing what drives your psychological desire to smoke can help you to find different, healthier alternatives when those situations occur.
  • Set “start quit” and “end quit” dates. Your start quit date is the day you start cutting back and implementing replacement behaviours. Your end quit date is the last day you smoke at all. Be realistic with your time frame; a week or two generally isn’t enough time for most people to quit. Allow up to 12 weeks to fully beat the habit, but then be very clear about sticking to those dates and the steady progression between them.
  • Get active. Even just a little exercise can be very effective at reducing your cravings. So rather than suddenly start exercising once you’ve quit, prepare your body by getting into a simple, daily stretching routine at home. Regularly walk around the block, or if you feel like it, something more strenuous, such as a jog or organised sport – just keep all these routines manageable and not so demanding that you’ll struggle to keep them up.

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Posted on in Stop smoking

What happens to your body when you stop smoking?

young woman smoking cigaretteMany people appear to be utterly determined to give up smoking, but when it comes time to do so, it soon becomes apparent just how addictive the nicotine in cigarettes really is. 70% of smokers say they want to stop but feel hopeless about their chances of success. It has even been claimed that nicotine is more addictive than heroin, and although the evidence to support that claim is inconclusive, it can be agreed that nicotine is a highly addictive drug.

According to the NHS, nicotine affects the levels of dopamine and noradrenaline in the brain, creating the enjoyable “nicotine rush” within just seconds of inhaling. The brain then becomes used to the nicotine and develops a tolerance for it, therefore requiring more to achieve the same results. Read in full

Why are nicotine replacement products so expensive?

nicotine replacement therapyCost is a big factor in buying cigarettes, but it can also be a factor when it comes to stopping smoking. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is expensive, and many who are desperate to move past those strong nicotine cravings wonder why that is.

Nicotine replacement therapy comes in different forms, including:

  • Patches
  • Gum
  • Nasal or mouth spray
  • Lozenges
  • Tablets

They work by releasing nicotine into the body to decrease cravings for the nicotine normally consumed by smoking. By providing the system with a low, steady dose of nicotine, these nicotine replacement treatments reduce the need to smoke and allow would-be quitters to avoid the carcinogenic tar, carbon monoxide and chemicals found in cigarette smoke.

Aside from being addictive, nicotine is not considered dangerous when taken for a short period of time. It is the other chemicals found in cigarette smoke that cause heart and lung diseases.

Nevertheless, when made available in these preparations, the price of nicotine seems to skyrocket. Prohibitive prices can make it feel harder to stop smoking, so why are NRT products so expensive? Read in full

Facts about quitting smoking: don’t be a statistic

quit smokingIt is hard to quit a habit as addictive as smoking, but sometimes a good dose of reality can give you the motivation you need. The statistics regarding the success, or should we say lack of success, of people who have tried to quit smoking are shocking.

Don’t fall in with the multitudes who try to quit but end up disappointing themselves and those who care about them. These stats may even spark your competitive side! Learn why smokers fail to quit and what you can do to avoid being one of them. Read in full

Anxiety and smoking: a nervous reality

anxiety smokingThe effects of smoking on physical health are well documented. In fact, they are so widely accepted that they are printed on every packet of cigarettes. However the effects of smoking on mental health are still a bit nebulous. Most people do not realise how tobacco affects their psychological well-being. A recent study published by the British Journal of Medicine revealed that most people believe smoking helps them cope with anxiety and stress. This is of course a myth: in truth smoking could really be contributing to anxiety and other mental health issues.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of fear, tension, unease and nervousness. We all suffer from anxiety from time to time; it is just part of the human condition. But when this feeling becomes disproportionate with the situation causing it, or if it is constant, ever present or begins to interfere with your day to day activities, then it has become a problem.

When it comes to smoking, withdrawal symptoms are a common cause of anxiety. The nagging temptation that comes with wanting a cigarette is actually a form of anxiety. In people who smoke regularly this feeling comes multiple times a day. It is a haunting and disturbing sensation that can obstruct completion of their regular activities. In fact, satisfying this craving in order to stave off anxiety can become part of the smoker’s daily routine.

If you are smoking, there is a good chance you are also not breathing properly. Smokers tend to breathe more quickly and less efficiently, and this can lead to hyperventilation and even a panic attack. Read in full

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Champix: your ally in the fight against smoking

champix smokingQuitting smoking is one of the best but most difficult decisions one can make. There are tangible health benefits, your senses will become sharper, your heart will be healthier and your lungs will start repairing themselves. However, as any former smoker can tell you, this process is far from a walk in the park. Nicotine cravings can be intense. They can lead to anxiety, frustration, drowsiness and an increase in appetite. It is a real challenge but there are ways to pass these hurdles and continue on your way to a longer and healthier life. Read in full

Quitting smoking: a little help from my friends

help friends quit smokingBeating a stubborn addiction is one of the most difficult things you can do. Your body develops a need for a substance, even if it’s harmful, and the cravings can be a painful and anxiety inducing affair.

Tobacco and cigarettes are a particularly difficult habit to get rid of as tobacco is legal and you can find it in most shops. Sometimes even stopping for some milk on the way home can be a problem for someone who is trying to quit. The cigarette counter is right there, and the temptation can be almost unbearable.

With cigarettes so readily available it may seem like the world is against the person trying to quit. This is the main reason why support from the people closest to the smoker is important. Read in full

Experts urge WHO to consider the benefits of e-cigarettes

e-cigarettes doctors adviceHealth experts have urged the World Health Organisation (WHO) to “resist the urge to control and suppress e-cigarettes.”

More than 50 public health specialists and researchers have sent a letter to the organisation in a bid to get them to understand the potential benefits of e-cigarettes, saying it’s too early to rule them out as a health risk.

E-cigarette devices deliver nicotine in a vapour and experts have suggested they could be a “significant health innovation” – and the UK’s Faculty of Public Health says it’s too early to know if the benefits outweigh the risks.

The open letter has been sent in advance of important international negotiations on tobacco policy due to take place later in the year.

Pro e-cigarette campaigners argue the devices are a low-risk smoking substitute and fear they might unfairly become targets of advertising bans and reduction targets. Read in full