It’s time for Stoptober – an annual initiative from the NHS that aims to encourage and motivate people to quit smoking for 28 consecutive days in October.
Tobacco kills up to half of its users in their lifetime – worldwide, smoking kills around 6 million people each year and has been linked to cancer, lung disease, heart attack, stroke and coronary heart disease.
The nicotine in cigarettes is highly addictive; even when we want to, many people find it difficult to stop smoking once they’ve started. According to the NHS, 70% of smokers say they would like to quit, yet still smoke anyway.
While difficult, the effort to quit smoking doesn’t need to be impossible, and once you do quit, you start to notice positive changes almost instantly.
Within 24 hours your blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal. Quit for a few days and you’ll notice an improved sense of taste and smell – not to mention money saved. After just two weeks your risk of heart attack starts to drop. Quit for a year and your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke has dropped to less than half of that of a smoker.
Helping you quit
It’s never too late to quit, and if you’re interested in giving up tobacco once and for all there are plenty of great resources online and from the NHS that can help you do it.
Start by speaking to your GP; they can help encourage you and prescribe nicotine replacement and other medications that can help you stay on track as you start your transition to being smoke free.
There’s plenty of useful online resources to help you educate yourself, find strategies that work and get encouragement when you’re struggling.
If you’d like to keep it social, there is an NHS Smokefree facebook page you can join to meet other people who are also working towards the same goal.
The NHS also has a dedicated Smokefree service that you can sign up for online. The website is full of useful information and by joining you will receive a free quit kit as well as email reminders and support in person and over text.
Allen Carr’s Easy Way To Stop Smoking is the world’s best-selling book on how to quit smoking, and has helped millions of people around the world give up tobacco products for good. A new revised edition was published in 2015 on the books 30th anniversary, with even more useful information and a brand new forward to help you stay on track.
Have you ever tried to quit smoking? Will you give it a go for Stoptober?