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National No Smoking Day – 13th March

Clearing the air: a guide to giving up smoking

Smoking causes numerous diseases and health problems, some of which can be fatal. In the UK one person dies from a smoking-related disease every 4 minutes.

Not only does smoking impact physical health but also extends its reach into various other aspects of your life, including your financial and emotional wellbeing, and the wellbeing of those around you. With National No Smoking Day on March 13th, we explore the effects of smoking and strategies for clearing the air and giving up smoking for good.

Effects of smoking

Smoking causes approximately 80% of all lung cancer deaths. It can also result in other serious health conditions such as heart disease, strokes, stomach ulcers, leukemia, gangrene, and other cancers. Even occasional smoking can exacerbate respiratory issues like bronchitis and allergies. Beyond this, it also causes other unpleasant symptoms like skin aging prematurely and wrinkles, stained teeth, bad breath, and discoloured fingertips and nails.

The dangers of smoking also extend beyond the smoker themselves. You cannot see or smell 85% of secondhand smoke but it contains over 4000 chemicals including 69 cancer-causing chemicals, leading to increased risks of lung cancer, heart disease, and respiratory issues, particularly in children. Being aware of the risks to others around you is crucial, especially in shared spaces.

Smoking can also have a substantial impact on personal finances, with the costs of purchasing cigarettes accumulating over time. From daily expenses to long-term healthcare costs, the financial burden of smoking extends beyond the immediate purchase, often affecting savings and overall financial stability.

Health recovery

The decision to quit smoking marks the beginning of a remarkable journey towards better health. Did you know that within 20 minutes of being smoke-free, your body will start to repair itself, with significant improvements seen within weeks to years? Understanding these milestones can serve as a powerful motivator on your quitting journey.

The sooner you quit, the better, and the risk of serious disease goes down.

Tips for quitting

You must really want to give up smoking to increase your chances of being successful. While quitting may seem daunting, it’s a journey worth embarking on. Below are some things to consider when giving up smoking:

  • Set SMART goals. Rather than thinking about how you will give up for life, just get through a day at a time
  • If you need to fiddle with something, chew gum or play with a pencil, for example, anything but a cigarette
  • Try eating fruit or drinking juice when you feel like a cigarette
  • Be sensible with alcohol, a few drinks may make you forget you have given up
  • Congratulate yourself as every day without smoking is an achievement, and remember to be kind to yourself

If you do succumb to smoking again, don’t give up giving up:

  • Make tomorrow the day you start giving up again.
  • Reflect on the reasons why you had that cigarette and think about how you can stop the situation from happening again
  • You may find nicotine replacement products helpful but always check with your doctor before using nicotine products
  • Think about your reason WHY. This will help you to continue your journey even when motivation is running low

Vaping vs. Smoking

Vaping has made quitting smoking cigarettes manageable for millions of people. There are an estimated 4.3 million people who are using e-cigarettes in the UK. While vaping is often touted as a safer alternative, it’s not without risks. While they are undoubtedly less harmful than cigarettes, there is evidence that vaping does have adverse effects on your heart, lungs, and respiratory system.

Furthermore, those who vape are still consuming the highly addictive drug, nicotine. Your addiction to it will mean you still crave vaping and therefore consume the other potentially harmful chemicals in the vapour.  In an ideal world quitting smoking AND vaping would be best.

Our main tip to you would be to really do your research when finding the quitting method that is right for you. Find the vape that has the right nicotine percentage that you require to curb your craving for cigarettes.

Begin your smoke-free journey today

As we observe National No Smoking Day, let’s take a proactive step towards a smoke-free future, prioritising our health and the health of those around us. Reflect on your reasons for wanting to quit and set achievable goals. Surround yourself with support and resources, whether it’s through cessation programs, nicotine replacement therapy, or lifestyle changes. Remember, it’s never too late to reclaim your health and wellbeing.

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