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Many people find it difficult to stop smoking, most of them due to ‘withdrawal symptoms’. This is when quit smoking tablets can aid in overcoming these difficult symptoms and help you successfully quit smoking. Order smoking

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How to stop smoking

Stopping smoking can be challenging but making a plan and sticking to it is the key to success. Think of it as a commitment to yourself and your own health. Set a date that you are going to quit smoking, completely stopping cigarettes after this. Some people find that Nicotine Replacement Therapy is a helpful way to quit, such as using nicotine patches or gum. There are also support groups available and a stop smoking service you can access through the NHS. 

Why should I stop smoking?

Smoking causes significant harm to your lungs and your overall health. It can lead to serious illness and death. Some examples of what smoking does to your body include: 

  • Damaging your heart and blood circulation, leaving you at risk of heart disease and blood clots
  • Increasing your risk of a stroke by 50%
  • Lung cancer and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) 
  • Stomach cancer or ulcers
  • Kidney cancer
  • Throat cancer
  • Stained teeth and bad breath
  • Premature ageing of the skin
  • Impotence 
  • Osteoporosis 

Once you stop smoking, your risk of developing smoking related illnesses drops. You will also save money and your friends and family will not be exposed to secondhand smoke anymore.

What are the statistics underlying smoking?

Research from the NHS indicates: 

  • Smoking causes 80,000 deaths in England every year
  • One in two smokers die from a smoking related disease 
  • 93% of throat cancer cases are caused by smoking 
  • 84% of lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking 
  • Smoking doubles your risk of a heart attack or stroke 
  • Second hand smoke causes around 11,000 deaths each year in the UK

How dangerous is smoking?

Smoking is incredibly harmful and can lead to serious illness and death. If you smoke, you have a 1 in 2 chance of dying from ill health caused directly from smoking. Each cigarette smoked is harmful and you are also putting family members and the people around you at risk from second hand smoke. 

Why is it so hard to stop smoking?

It can be very hard to stop smoking for several reasons. Cigarettes contain a highly addictive chemical called nicotine. When you inhale it, dopamine is released in the brain which is known as the feel good hormone. Smokers quickly build up a tolerance to nicotine, which means the effects wear off quickly leaving you craving another cigarette. Smoking also becomes an ingrained habit. It's common to smoke at certain times during the day or when you're feeling stressed. The absence of this can be difficult to get used to.  

How long does it take to stop smoking?

It often takes several attempts to stop smoking completely. The process is different for everyone however. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance so you can expect your cravings to last for several weeks before beginning to subside. 

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What are the health risks of e-cigarettes?

While e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than smoking cigarettes, as a new product, further research is needed to establish the long term effects of e-cigarettes on your health. They still contain some of the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes but at a much lower level. 

How can I help someone who is trying to quit smoking?

Showing support is crucial when helping someone quit smoking. Avoid criticising or lecturing them; instead focus on the small victories and practice active listening. Pay attention to their feelings and struggles and offer them opportunities to open up and tell you how you can help them. Arrange activities to help distract them from their cravings and change up their routine, trying to incorporate things which will help them to de-stress. 

What is the easiest way to quit smoking?

Quitting smoking is never an easy thing to do no matter which method you choose. Combining several different treatments is usually the key to success; such as prescription medication, nicotine replacement and behavioural therapy. This ensures you are getting as much support as you can, tackling both the physical symptoms and cravings and the psychological impact of quitting smoking. 

This is the first time, I’m trying to quit smoking, what should I try?

There are lots of different options available to you if you wish to quit smoking. The NHS offers stop smoking programmes free of charge which are designed to support you every step of the way. Visit your GP for guidance if you are planning to stop smoking as they will be able to help you join a stop smoking programme and advise you which medications may help. 

I’ve tried nicotine replacements, what should I try now?

Nicotine replacements provide you with a supply of nicotine in place of cigarettes. This does not help to reduce your cravings for nicotine however. Nicotine replacement therapy works best when it's combined with behaviour therapy and additional support. You can also try prescription medication such as Chantix which is designed to ease your cravings and the withdrawal process. 

What medications can help me quit smoking?

Chantix and Bupropion are two medications which are designed to help smokers to quit. They will help to ease your cravings and withdrawal symptoms and are available on prescription from your GP or pharmacist. 

How to set realistic goals for quitting smoking

There are lots of resources freely available to support you to quit smoking. The NHS offer a free personal quit plan from their website which is a good place to start to work out what goals you should realistically be setting. There is also a Smoke free app and Facebook page you can join to connect with other people going through the same thing.

How to find motivation to stop smoking

Smoking is a complex addiction so finding the will to stop can be difficult. It can help to make a list of reasons to quit and take into consideration the impact it has on your family and friends. For example: 

  • Your health will improve 
  • You will significantly reduce your chances of a smoking related illness 
  • You'll have more energy and will be able to breathe easier 
  • Being active won't put as much strain on your chest and lungs
  • You'll save money 
  • Bad breath and stained teeth will stop being an issue
  • You won't be subjecting anyone to secondhand smoke

How to find the confidence you need to stop smoking

Reaching out to support services, or friends and family, can help to build up your confidence so that you feel able to take the first step towards quitting. You may want to try behavioural therapy or find support groups such as the NHS stop smoking programme or online support to talk to other smokers who are trying to quit. 

Are e-cigarettes healthier than smoking?

E-cigarettes are healthier than smoking. They are 95% less harmful to you than smoking a cigarette. While they still pose a slight risk to your health, it's only a fraction in comparison to the damage a cigarette will do as they do not contain as many harmful chemicals. 

Are e-cigarettes a good option to help you quit smoking?

E-cigarettes are a helpful alternative to cigarettes to help you quit smoking. As a healthier alternative to smoking, they work well as nicotine replacement therapy. However, e-cigarettes will not cure nicotine addiction. The eventual aim of NRT is to reduce your nicotine intake until you can stop altogether. it's recommended to use e-cigarettes in combination with other treatments such as medication, support groups or behavioural therapy. 

Q&A

Do lungs recover after stopping smoking?

After quitting smoking, the lungs will heal to a certain extent. In the first few weeks you'll notice an improvement in your breathing and the inflammation inside the lungs will start to decrease. You may experience a cough at first but this is your lungs clearing out excess mucus. Your risk of lung cancer will start to decrease the longer you go without smoking but not all lung damage can be reversed. People who have been smoking for a long time may go on to suffer from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). 

How do we know that smoking causes lung cancer?

Cigarettes contain at least 60 carcinogenic (cancer producing) substances which is how smoking poses such a high risk of lung cancer. 85% of lung cancer cases are directly caused by smoking. Passive smoking can also lead to lung cancer; people who live with a smoker being 25% more likely to develop the disease than a non-smoker who is not exposed to secondhand smoke.

Can you get lung cancer if you have never smoked?

Although smoking is the single biggest risk factor for lung cancer, it is still possible to get it if you have never smoked. Passive smoking can cause just as much damage as smoking, increasing the risk of smoking related diseases like lung cancer. Exposure to the following substances can also lead to lung cancer:

  • Radon
  • Arsenic 
  • Asbestos 
  • Beryllium 
  • Cadmium 
  • Coal or coke fumes
  • Silica 
  • Nickel
  • Diesel fumes 

Is smoking really good for Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

Smoking can have a mixed effect on Inflammatory Bowel Disease depending on what type of illness you have. Inflammatory Bowel Disease is an umbrella term used to describe Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Smokers are more at risk of developing Crohn's disease and if you have the condition, smoking causes more frequent and severe flare ups. In contrast, some studies have shown that ulcerative colitis is more common in non-smokers. There is also evidence that smokers with ulcerative colitis experience less flare ups and milder symptoms. This does not mean that smoking is a healthy option; it still causes many types of cancers and lung damage. 

Why is smoking so addictive?

Cigarettes contain nicotine which is a highly addictive substance. It stimulates two chemicals in the brain; dopamine and noradrenaline which create a feel good ‘rush’ that smokers become dependent on. 

Is smoking marijuana just as dangerous as smoking cigarettes?

Smoking marijuana is just as harmful to the lungs as smoking cigarettes. This is partly due to the way it is consumed. Often, marijuana is mixed with tobacco which means the harmful chemicals contained in cigarettes are still being inhaled and this is particularly dangerous given that marijuana is usually inhaled more deeply and held inside the lungs for longer. Even when it is not mixed with tobacco, the act of inhaling smoke provides damage to the lungs.  

How can you tell if you’re addicted to cigarettes?

You can tell that you are addicted to cigarettes if you find yourself craving them, or you experience withdrawals. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance contained in cigarettes so every time you smoke you are more likely to become dependent on them. 

How to deal with nicotine cravings

Nicotine cravings may be triggered by certain events or at times of the day when you normally smoke. Cravings can be uncomfortable to resist but they are temporary so the best thing to do is to wait it out. Keeping yourself busy and distracted by physical activity, doing something else, chewing gum and sticking to smoke-free areas can help. Taking ten deep breaths to center yourself can also help. 

Is nicotine harmful, or is it the other ingredients in cigarettes?

Nicotine itself does not lead to cancer or other serious illnesses, it's the other toxic chemicals in cigarettes such as tar and carbon monoxide that are dangerous. E-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than smoking a cigarette but they still produce a slight risk to your health. 

Are roll-ups healthier than normal cigarettes?

Roll-ups are not healthier than normal cigarettes. They still contain the same amount of toxic chemicals as regular cigarettes and are just as harmful to your lungs and overall health. 

Can passive smoking cause health problems?

Passive smoking can and does cause health problems. People exposed to secondhand smoke are at risk of lung cancer and heart disease as well as the other health risks caused by smoking cigarettes. 

Can you get addicted to nicotine from passive smoking?

Being continually exposed to secondhand smoke can cause consumption of nicotine. This may lead to nicotine dependence. 

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