How to stop smoking for Stoptober 2019 and even quit cigarettes for good

This article was taken from:

By Georgia Chambers & Tom Herbert at the Evening Standard

How to stop smoking for Stoptober 2019 and even quit cigarettes for good

More Brits than ever before are choosing to ditch cigarettes, with figures suggesting smoking rates are dropping at record numbers.

According to Public Health England, the latest numbers suggest that smoking rates in England are dropping at the fastest rate in over a decade.

The numbers mean there are now 200 fewer smokers every hour, and national health campaigns such as Stoptober are helping us to kick the habit for good.

Stoptober, which lasts for a whole month from Tuesday, October 1, is a national campaign encouraging smokers to cut out the cigarettes and quit the habit.

There are plenty of ways to help you stop smoking, but it is easier said than done and as any smoker who’s quit or has tried to quit before, it can be extremely hard to kick.

So with Stoptober among us, how can you successfully quit for good? We spoke to Dr Fiona Sim, a former GP and Special Advisor to the Royal Society of Public Health for some advice on how to stop smoking.

Is ‘social smoking’ as bad as smoking every day?

“The health risks from smoking are related to the amount you smoke, so you are less likely to get ill as a result of an occasional cigarette compared with someone who is a regular smoker.

“But if you are a ‘social smoker’ you are running the risk of smoking more and becoming addicted to nicotine just like regular smokers.

“So altogether, a better idea is to not smoke at all rather than believing wrongly, that you are safe if you are a ‘social smoker.'”

How do I stop smoking? Where do I start?

“Choose a date to stop carefully, when you are ready to make a commitment to quitting and feel able to do it.

“Tell people around you that you’re quitting and if possible, buddy up with someone and quit together.

“It’s also a good idea to get professional advice from your local pharmacist or GP.

“Don’t worry if you don’t succeed at first – it can take several attempts to quit smoking but the health benefits of becoming a non-smoker mean it is worth stopping however long it takes and at any age.

“If you’re pregnant, there are special services to help you quit smoking, not just for your own benefit but for your baby’s, who will otherwise be at increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth or low birth weight as a result of smoking.

“Finally, set yourself a reward for quitting – you’ll be able to afford a great prize with the money you’ll save by becoming a non-smoker.”

What treatments can help me quit?

“There are several types of treatment available, including nicotine replacement in the form of patches, gum, inhaler, nasal spray, microtablets or lozenges.

“Prescription pills such as Zyban¬†or Champix¬†are also good stop-smoking treatments, and e-cigarettes if other treatments haven’t worked for you.

“Try visiting a stop smoking clinic or a pharmacy with a trained assistant so they can help you find the right combination of products most likely to help you.”

Can hypnosis stop me craving cigarettes?

“Hypnosis (or hypnotherapy) is a popular treatment for quitting smoking, although the underlying scientific evidence to support it is slim.

“It’s not licensed for NHS use for this purpose, although lots of smokers try it and succeed in quitting.”

Are e-cigarettes bad for you? Can they help me quit?

“E-cigarettes are believed by most experts to be a lot safer than smoking tobacco products. Most contain nicotine and so inhaling from an e-cigarette will replace the effect of nicotine in cigarettes, which accounts for their addictiveness.

“So e-cigarettes can help you quit conventional cigarettes and can be especially useful in the early stages of quitting.

“However, because the long-term health effects of vaping are not yet known, the prolonged use of e-cigarettes is not recommended.

“E-cigarettes are not currently recommended for use in pregnancy so it’s usually advised you try other treatments.”

However, concerns about e-smoking have risen recently after 13 deaths linked to vaping in the US, where at least 805 cases of lung injury allegedly associated with e-cigarette products are also being investigated by authorities.

A British man, Terry Miller, 57, is thought to have died in 2010 from a lung disease linked to vaping while there have been reports of a surge of under-18s becoming addicted to nicotine because of vaping.

And according to government watchdog the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA), vaping has been linked to 200 adverse effects on UK e-cigarette users

Is going cold turkey the best way to stop smoking?

“Going cold turkey can work but someone trying to quit may find the cravings too much.

“If you do decide to go cold turkey, nicotine will be out of your body in the first week, after which you may well have cravings for a few weeks, and longer for some people.

“Each craving lasts for a few minutes and you’ll need to be prepared to cope with them.

“To succeed, you’ll need to always say ‘no’ to these cravings to avoid relapse. The NHS calls this the ‘not a single drag’ rule.”

What happens to your body when you stop smoking?

“As soon as you stop smoking, your body starts to crave nicotine, which is why nicotine replacement products can be helpful.

“It won’t be long before the good effects start to kick in, though. You’ll enjoy food more because your sense of taste will be improved, your clothes won’t smell of stale smoke, that tell-tale cough will disappear and you’ll be saving yourself money.

“Importantly, your risk of things like heart and circulatory diseases, lung cancer and several other cancers and chronic chest disease (COPD) will start to reduce as soon as you stop smoking.

“And if some damage has already been done, quitting at any age help stop things getting worse.

“Because smoking affects appetite, some people put on weight after quitting, so include a healthy eating and exercise plan within your quit smoking plan.”

Can smoking affect your mental health, sex drive and sleep?

“Smoking increases anxiety and stress, despite its image as something to relieve stress. Smokers are also more likely to suffer from depression.

“Stopping smoking can therefore improve your mental health and overall wellbeing.

“Smoking can also affect your circulation and with it, the blood supply to a man’s penis. So if a man suffers from erectile dysfunction, it can be as a result of smoking and may be cured by quitting.

“Smoking is also known to contribute to infertility, so it is worth both partners quitting if you are trying to conceive.”