Health Benefits of Quitting Smoking
Once you have taken that all important first step to stopping smoking the health benefits are endless. The day you start to quit is the day you become healthier.
Below explains what health benefits you gain within minutes, hours and years after you have quit smoking.
• 20 Minutes: BP and heart rate improve
• 12 Hours: Carbon Monoxide levels in your blood return to normal
• 2-12 Weeks: Your chance of having a heart attack decreases
• 1 Year Your: Excess risk of heart disease drops to half of that of a smoker
• 5-15 Years: Your stroke risk is that on a non-smoker
• 10 Years: Your risk of cancer decreases
Most people are fully aware that smoking is bad for you and that if you are a smoker, giving up is the most important thing you can do to improve your short and long term health.
However, quitting smoking is easier said than done. We know that nicotine is highly addictive and we understand that if you’ve been a smoker for a long time it’s a very hard habit to break.
We also know that when it comes to quitting smoking some personalised advice and support can be the key to success.
There is help out there! You are FOUR times more likely to succeed at quitting smoking with professional help as opposed to going it alone.
Health and Wellbeing at Public Health Northampton can offer 12 weeks of support, including e-cigarettes and nicotine replacement therapy.
If you are ready to quit – self refer to Public Health by following the link below: https://www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/councilservices/health/pages/smoking.aspx
Here’s a Ten Step Quitting Plan and some tips to help you beat those cravings and triggers:
Ten Step Quitting Plan
- Pick a quit day and stick to it. Pick a day no later than two weeks after you have made up your mind to quit.
- Clean your house and car. Get rid of all cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters. Clean the rugs, curtains and anything that may hold the smell of smoke. Make your environment as smoke-free as possible.
- Remind yourself why you want to quit. Think about all your reasons for quitting smoking. What is the major benefit to you? How much money will you save? Discuss them with a friend. Write them down on a piece of paper and carry it with you. If your motivation involves loved ones, attach a picture of them to your list.
- Identify your barriers to quitting. Think about the things that keep you smoking and those that stop you from smoking. Write them down, and then write how you will deal with each barrier without smoking.
- Learn to beat your cravings. The easiest way to beat cravings is to prevent them. It’s important to pick the ones that work best for you.
- Learn to beat trigger situations. Think about situations when you are most likely to want to smoke. Plan how to deal with those triggers, whether by avoiding them or by knowing ways to cope when they strike.
- Review the directions. Before you quit, make sure you clearly understand how to use your chosen Nicotine Replacement Therapy. Book an appointment with Sam our smoking cessation expert or one of our nurses for help and advice.
- Get Support. Find people who can help you when you need that extra boost, and make sure you can reach them when you need to. If you notice yourself losing control in your ability to quit, it’s a sign that you need some additional support.
- Have a quitting ceremony. The night before your quit day, celebrate and get rid of your cigarettes. As part of your ceremony, make a commitment to stay of cigarettes no matter what challenges you might face.
- Stay positive You can quit! Focus on a positive reminder that can help you quit. Think about a difficult challenge you met in the past, and write yourself a message. ‘If I could do………, I can quit smoking!’
Seven ways to beat the cravings
- Bring your Nicotine Replacement Therapy with you throughout the day, and be sure to use it regularly.
- Begin– Begin an exercise programme. If you can’t start a formal programme, start walking for at least twenty minutes three times a week.
- Break– Break your routines by doing typical activities in a different order, at different times of the day, with other people, in different places.
- Bypass– Bypass tempting situations until you are ready to deal with them
- Breathe– Do deep breathing to keep calm and relaxed
- Busy yourself– Avoid long periods of time where you have nothing to do. Keep a book, magazine or crossword puzzle with you at all times to keep you from getting bored.
- Believe– Believe that you are happy being a non-smoker and that life is much better without cigarettes.
Seven ways to beat the triggers
- Dose– Make sure you are getting enough of your Nicotine Replacement Therapy.
- Distraction– Give your body and brain something to do. Play with a squeeze ball, call someone, daydream about the beach or mountains, take a walk, find an object and list the words you can spell from the letters in its name.
- Delay– When you have a craving just wait it out. Believe it or not, most cravings fade naturally within minutes. If you also do something to distract yourself, the time will pass even faster.
- Drink– Drink plenty of water. Water will fill you up. Drinking also keeps you busy.
- Depart– Get out of the situation even for a few minutes.
- Deep Breathing– You are already an expert deep breather. You just think you need the cigarette in your mouth to do it which you don’t. So when a craving hits, inhale deeply and count to five. Do the same as you exhale.
- Discuss– Find someone to talk to. Talk about anything, the weather, sport, how you are feeling. Talking takes your mind off the craving and let’s time pass more quickly.
Below are links to some further helpful on-line tools to help with giving up smoking.