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How to quit smoking

Posted on 05 March 2021


Wednesday 10th March 2021 is No Smoking Day – a campaign to raise awareness about the health dangers associated with smoking and encourage people to give up for good.

Check out our top tips to get started… and make this your year to kick the habit!

Why should I quit?

Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your health. Even if you’ve smoked for years, quitting will still reduce your risk of heart and circulatory diseases. It’s never too late to quit. You might notice benefits sooner than you think:

  • 20 minutes after you quit smoking, your heart rate and blood pressure return to normal.
  • After 2–3 days your sense of smell and taste improve.
  • After 2–12 weeks exercise becomes easier and your breathing improves.
  • After 1 year your risk of having a heart attack is half that of a smoker.

Plan ahead

Make a promise, set a date and stick to it. Tell people about your commitment so you’re held accountable. Once you have committed to No Smoking Day as your quit date, think forward to times where it might be difficult (a night out, for example), and plan your actions or escape routes in advance.

Stay focused

Commit to the "not a single puff" rule. Have a plan for dealing with cravings – for instance, studies show that exercise, even a 5-minute walk, creates a distraction and may help your brain produce anti-craving chemicals.

Change your routines

Reflect on when in your routine you usually have a cigarette and then make some changes. If you normally have a cigarette straight after dinner, try getting up and doing the washing up instead. Rid your home of ashtrays and lighters and practise saying, “No thanks, I don’t smoke.” This may help convince you as well as others.

Re-visit motivations

Write a list of all of the reasons you want to quit. Keep re-visiting that list and reminding yourself why you want to quit – everything from setting a healthy example to your kids to wanting stain-free teeth. Plus, think of all the money you’ll save: if you smoke 20 cigarettes a day, giving up will save you slightly more than £2,700 a year.

Get help

Many smokers want to quit but aren’t sure about the best way to go about it. Did you know that you’re up to 3 times more likely to quit successfully with expert help and advice like the NHS’s Stop Smoking Service? You can use this to find out about nicotine replacement therapy, stop smoking medicine, and support groups, or speak to your GP or pharmacist for more advice.

Why not start now? Answer a few quick questions to get a Personal Quit Plan from the NHS.

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