It should no longer be a surprise to anyone that smoking seriously damages your health. Despite this, around ten million adults in Britain smoke cigarettes. Tobacco smoking is recognized as the UK’s single biggest cause of preventable death. Still need convincing to quit?
The statistics speak for themselves. In 2009 around 102,000 people died in the UK from smoking-related illness and tobacco is estimated to be responsible for around a quarter of the deaths from cancer in the UK.
If you’re still on the fence about quitting, take a look at these facts from Smoke Free NHS about what smoking does to your body. For instance, your lungs are horribly affected by smoking; smoker’s lungs are covered in a black, tar-like substance. Coughs, asthma and wheezing are only the beginning. If you’re unlucky you will develop diseases such as bronchitis, emphysema and lung cancer.
Smoking also has a detrimental effect on your appearance, causing stained teeth, bad breath and gum disease. It reduces the amount of oxygen to the skin, causing it to age faster and giving you that well known ‘leathery’ look.
The damaging effects don’t stop there. Your veins and arteries will become clogged up and narrower, increasing the likelihood of strokes, heart attacks and aneurysms.
Your family plans can also be affected. Smoking can damage sperm, lower sperm count and cause testicular cancer in men. In women it lowers fertility and increases the likelihood of miscarriage, low birth weight and cot death.
Do you still think smoking is worth it? Honestly?
If you’ve had a change of heart then read these 6 top tips on how to give up the habit…
• Be positive. If you start out thinking negatively you’re setting yourself up to fail. If you’ve tried to quit before and given up, tell yourself that this time will be different. Don’t allow yourself to be defeated.
• Set yourself definable goals. If we tell ourselves that we are giving up smoking forever it can feel overwhelming. Set yourself more achievable goals and slowly build upon them. For example, at first aim not to smoke for the rest of the day, then increase it to a few days, then a week, then a month. This will make the process feel much more manageable.
• Create a craving strategy. Cravings typically last for five minutes. Come up with a strategy to distract yourself when you start to feel cravings. This can be anything that engrosses you from listening to music to going to a dance, or watching a favourite program.
• Spend time with people who don’t smoke. Many people begin smoking because their social circle are smokers. If you are a ‘social smoker’ you will find it hard to resist lighting up if everyone around you is doing it. Spend time with the non-smokers at parties wherever possible to avoid temptation.
• Get quitting support. If you have friends or family who also want to quit suggest doing it together. You can also turn to your free local NHS Stop Smoking Service if you want professional help.
• Make a list of the reasons you want to quit. When you feel unmotivated keep focussing on this list. These can include factors such as problems with your health, problems with your appearance and lack of money. Looking at this list during those cravings will remind you that you’ve made the right decision!
An extra tip is to make use of the resources available to you. There are a number of tools to help you such as nicotine patches, nicotine gum, inhalators and nasal sprays.
A useful trick is to calculate how much you could save if you quit, using a smoking calculator. Keep yourself motivated by thinking about what you could buy with all that money you’re saving!
Do you have any tips to add?
Leave me a comment below…
Article written by Gavin Harvey
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