Keen to kick the habit? Join hundreds of thousands of others who decided to go smoke-free this October as a part of the increasingly popular Stoptober campaign. According to recent research, around two thirds of British smokers would like to quit and about seven million of them try each year.
The good news is that more than 10 million people in Britain have succeeded and are now ex-smokers. You can be one of them!
Benefits of stopping smoking
Quitting smoking at any age brings health benefits, and these start the very day you stop.
“Within a month, you will feel like you have more air, because you do,” says Dr Michael Fiore, director of the Centre for Tobacco Research and Intervention at the University of Wisconsin in the US. “Within a year, your risk of having a heart attack will be cut by 50 per cent.
Research suggests that smokers who quit before the age of 35 reduce the risk of health problems from smoking by 90 per cent. A smoker who quits before 50 halves their risk of dying within the next 15 years compared with someone who continues to smoke.
However, this should not lead smokers under 35 to think: “Great! I can smoke for another 10 years and I’ll be ok.” Or those over 50 should not think: “Well there’s no point in me quitting smoking, the damage is probably already done.” The truth is that while a lot of the damage is reversible, continuing to smoke only brings further problems to your health and wellbeing as according to Dr. Peter Selby, the clinical director of addiction programs at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, each cigarette contributes to making your body age faster: “With 4,000 harmful chemicals in every cigarette, each time you breathe the smoke in and out of your lungs, you are ageing your body, your face, your teeth and your skin.”
This means that the sooner you quit, the sooner you will see the following improvements (usually in the first few days and weeks of quitting):
More freedom: Smoking takes a lot of energy, especially in today’s society. It’s hard work being a smoker, having to monitor how many cigarettes you have, stopping to buy more, finding time and locations to smoke, justifying the addiction and dealing with the negative impact on your health and finances.
Skin improvements: Smoking is responsible for signs of premature ageing, including fine lines on the skin and a sallow complexion. The great news is that your body starts to repair almost as soon as you quit smoking and you can expect to see noticeable difference in your appearance within weeks of stopping including younger, clearer looking skin, brighter eyes and whiter teeth.
Your breathing becomes easier: It’s no secret that smoking affects breathing, no matter what type of smoker you are and how ever long you’ve smoked for. Stopping smoking will have a huge impact on your respiratory system and lung capacity.
Energy levels improve: Smoking makes people lethargic and so when you quit you can expect more restful sleep and more energy to pursue goals in life that genuinely make you happy.
Smoking and cancer
“Smokers are very aware of the health problems of smoking. But most smokers don’t take any notice of the health warnings. What people really need is reassurance that the withdrawal from nicotine is not going to be prolonged or painful.’ says John Dicey, Worldwide Director at Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking.
Yes, people who smoke do have a 50 percent chance of dying from a smoking related disease but this information does not help smokers to stop. They may feel patronised by the health campaigners whose sole tactic is to restate the negatives of smoking in ever more graphic detail. What is needed is an honest look at the perceived positives of smoking. Allen Carr’s Easyway seminars help people who smoke to remove the illusion that they enjoy smoking, that it’s hard to stop or that they will be missing out on a pleasure or a treat when they quit.
Want help to stop smoking this Stoptober? If you’re a smoker who wants to quit, don’t try to do it on your own – Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking Course can help! Members of PruHealth’s Vitality programme can save £201 on an Allen Carr course! Find out more about this opportunity on our Allen Carr partner page.