Wednesday, March 14th is National No Smoking Day. Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution or this day it gives an incentive to cut it out. Smoking is SO expensive these days, plus Smoking Kills.
There are 9 million smokers in the UK, the majority of whom are young people.
- That means that 19 per cent of smokers are men and 15 per cent are women.
Two thirds of smokers took up the habit before the age of 18.
Every year 96,000 people in the UK die due to smoking related diseases. Half of all smokers will die because of their habit.
One in seven 15 year olds smoke, with more girls smoking than boys.
- Smoking related diseases cost the NHS £2 billion a year.
- 80 per cent of deaths from lung cancer, emphysema, and bronchitis are directly attributable to smoking.
However, some progress has been made over the years –
In 1948 82 per cent of British men smoked, and 41 per cent of women.
There are more people in the UK who used to smoke than those who currently maintain the habit. But the good news is that the body recovers reasonably quickly if you are young enough.
Smoking is the worst thing you can do for your health
- 90% of lung cancer deaths are due to smoking.
- 80% of bronchitis and emphesema deaths are due to smoking.
- 1/3 of cancer deaths are due to smoking.
Positive health prospects
The body is very resilient and health benefits are quick to realise. According to ASH, the anti-smoking public health charity:
•20 minutes after quitting: blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal;
•Two hours later: nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in the blood reduce by half and oxygen levels return to normal ;
•24 hours: carbon monoxide eliminated from the body, lungs start to clear out mucus and other debris;
•48 hours: no nicotine left in the body;
•72 hours: breathing easier, bronchial tubes relax and energy levels increase
•2-12 weeks: improved circulation;
•3-9 months: coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as lung function increases by up to 10 per cent;
•One year: risk of heart attack halved;
•10 years: risk of lung cancer halved;
•15 years: risk of heart attack falls to level of a permanent non-smoker.
Around 70 per cent of adult smokers want to quit and 86 per cent have already tried but failed. The benefits are all too obvious, not just in health terms but also to the smokers’ wallet – a 20 a day smoker spends almost £1,700 every year on their habit.
The good news is there is plenty of help at hand. Anyone can go to an NHS Stop Smoking clinic by referral from a GP, midwife or pharmacist (Local Stop Smoking Services, 0800 169 0169). You get to talk to an adviser and may be offered nicotine replacement therapy or Zyban, a prescription drug.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy:
Published trials claim that using nicotine replacement therapy to quit smoking doubles your chances compared with plain and simple willpower. You can see your doctor about NRT.
•There is a wide variety of choice of NRT methods available on prescription including patches, gum, sprays, inhalers, tablets and lozenges.
•They all provide lower levels of nicotine than cigarettes which is absorbed into the bloodstream and is enough to relieve craving and withdrawal symptoms.
Available on prescription and over the counter at chemists.
Dispelling the illusion the Easyway
Boasting a 90 per cent success rate the Allen Carr Easyway method incorporates just one four and a half hour session with a trained therapist who:
•Dispels common misconceptions about smoking, such as its calming and confidence-boosting effects;
•Also included is a brief hypnotherapy session to reinforce the message.
Those people who give up smoking as a result of Allen Carr sessions claim that they come out of the session with a completely changed view about the habit, and the majority don’t revert to smoking.
For details of the nearest Allen Carr clinic contact: 0208 944 7761. www.allencarr.com
Blocking the nicotine
For people who find that they don’t know what to do with their hands when they quit NicoBloc provides a chance to give up gradually.
Drops of NicoBloc are put on each cigarette where it solidifies and blocks the amount of tar and nicotine inhaled.
The gradual build-up starts with one drop in the first week, two drops the next week and so on.
Eventually there is so little nicotine being inhaled and taken into the blood stream that the desire for smoking diminishes.
Available from chemists.
It might be possible to get complementary therapies for quitting smoking on the NHS, at The Christie Hospital in Manchester, for instance where they use aromatherapy, reflexology, hypnotherapy and acupuncture as part of their smoking cessation programme.
Acupuncture can help
Acupuncture stimulates the body to release endorphins which help to induce a sense of calm and relaxation.
•Needles are usually placed in the ear during a session – this is often called auricular acupuncture.
•Sometimes one or more is left in to help people cope with cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
For acupuncturists in your area contact the British Acupuncture Council: 020 8735 0400, www.acupuncture.org.uk
Changing behaviour – Hypnosis and NLP
A study of 6,000 smokers found that hypnosis was three times as successful as nicotine replacement therapy in helping people to give up.
Sometimes available on the NHS but mostly you have to pay for these. The combination of hypnosis and NLP is often used to help people quit smoking as hypnosis works on the sub-conscious mind, and NLP provides ways of changing behaviour on a conscious level.
National Register of Hypnotherapists and Psychotherapists: 01282 716839), www.general-hypnotherapy-register.com