The statistics around smoking and the links to heart disease are well documented, and the health risks associated with smoking of course include lung cancer too.

Did you know that when you stop smoking within

20  Minutes your blood pressure and pulse rate goes down

8 Hours blood oxygen levels return to normal

24 Hours carbon monoxide leaves your body and the lungs start to clear themselves of mucus

48 Hours The body is now nicotine free

72 Hours breathing become easier, which means you have more energy

2-12 Weeks The circulation is much improved and it will be easier to walk and climb stairs.

3-9 Months Lungs are much better.  Their efficiency is improved by 5-10%

5 Years The risk of having a heart attack is now half that of a smoker

10 Years The risk of getting lung cancer is now half that of a smoker                                                 (Dept of Health)

It is a very common for those trying to give up smoking to relapse at some point.  If you talk to someone who has managed to give up many of them will tell you that they did not succeed on their first attempt.    If you find that you are not successful first time, do not be discouraged but use that experience in a positive way.  Ask yourself why did I start again, what was the trigger that caused this?  You will then be more aware of those triggers next time.

Trying to stop smoking without any additional help is an extremely difficult thing to do.  To increase your chances of being successful it is well worth getting free help, support and encouragement from your local Stop Smoking Service.  To find out where your nearest Stop Smoking Service is go to the NHS stop smoking website.   The NHS free stop smoking helpline is 0800 022 4 332.  The Stop Smoking Service will be able to offer you practical advice via drop in clinics where you can speak to an advisor.

The first few weeks going without nicotine are the hardest, so getting specific advice on which is the best nicotine replacement that would suit you is very important and is something that the advisor will be able to help you with.

Within the brain there are receptors that crave nicotine.  When you stop smoking they get very agitated and send out very strong messages encouraging you to smoke.   Using a nicotine replacement will give these receptors just a little nicotine and by week 3 of giving up those receptors will be going to sleep.    The important thing to remember is just one cigarette will wake them up!!

Learning to change your behaviour patterns is another key to giving up smoking.  You have for many years always associated doing a certain activities with smoking. Your brain is tuned in to this and when you still do the same things but do not smoke, it will send you urgent messages in the form of cravings for a cigarette.    When trying to stop smoking, changing the way that you do things often helps.   For example, if you never have breakfast in the morning, now change that pattern and have breakfast.

The most important part of giving up smoking is your desire to do so.  It will take will power, so you have to want to do it.  Sometimes it is helpful to make a list  of  reasons why you want to give up.  For example:- improving your health, financial, as a role model to your kids, grandchildren.  Keep this list in a prominent place to remind you.

Set a date when you are going to stop, choose a day and time which is not going to be stressful, tell your family and friends so they can help and support you.  Throw away all your cigarettes and things that go with them so that there is no temptation, keep yourself busy and change your day to day routine.  If you also add into your daily routine some additional physical activity then that will help you keep your weight under control.

I wish you every success.


Department of Health

NHS Smoke Free

NHS Stop Smoking Help & Support


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