No Smoking Day, 9 March, is fast approaching which encourages and supports smokers to quit the habit for good.
Somerset County Council is encouraging all smokers to quit and have produced a handy tip list to help people prepare for and get through those early stages of giving up smoking.
They also operate a Stop Smoking Service, Smokefreelife Somerset, which offers free advice from Stop Smoking Practitioners. This offers a twelve-week programme that helps support people with behaviour change and gives advice on stop smoking medications to ease nicotine withdrawal.
10 Tips to help you stop smoking
1. Pick a quit date
Think about it in advance, try and pick a day that will be relatively free of stress, and stick to it.
2. Make a list
Weigh up the reasons that you want to stop and write them down. When the cravings come, get the list out and remind yourself why you are doing it.
3. Get support
Join up with someone else who’s looking to give up smoking and support each other.
4. Remove any reminders
Lose the smoking paraphernalia – prior to the quit date get rid of the ashtrays, lighters and matches.
5. Contact a stop smoking service
6. Use nicotine replacement therapy
There are many nicotine replacement therapies, which increase the chances of quitting.
7. Take up some light exercise
A walk, even for just five minutes, cuts the urge to smoke.
8. Avoid the trigger moment
Knowing what triggers smoking, like after a meal or stressful situations, helps someone giving up to have a plan to avoid them or to do something else in that time instead.
9. Just say “no”
People around a smoker might not know they have quit – when offered it’s easy to be tempted by ‘just one’ cigarette but ‘just one’ often leads an ex-smoker back to the habit.
10. Make it worthwhile with a treat
As well as the health benefits of quitting there are financial benefits too – anyone giving up smoking deserves a treat or two.
Councillor Clare Paul, Somerset County Council’s member for health and wellbeing, said: “Giving up smoking is one of the kindest things you can do for your health. Smoking is one of the largest causes of illness and death – there are many health benefits of quitting smoking both short and long term.”
“I would encourage anyone who smokes to consider the benefits of quitting, use these tips to get you through or reach out to our Stop Smoking Service for help and support.
“As well as the health benefits of quitting there are financial benefits too – anyone giving up smoking deserves a treat or two!”
The short-term benefits – within twenty minutes of smoking a final cigarette blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal. After nine hours the carbon monoxide level in the blood reduces by half and oxygen levels returns to normal. Within seventy-two hours breathing becomes easier, bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy level increase.
The long-term benefits – within two to twelve weeks circulation improves, three to nine months any coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as lung function increases. After a year risk of a heart attack falls to half that of a smoker and after five years risk of stroke is reduced to that of a non-smoker. Within ten years risk of death from lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker.