October brings with it the annual NHS campaign to quit smoking. If you’ve never heard of it before, Stoptober encourages people to sign up and join its community of smokers who have committed to quit with an initial 28-day push over the course of October.
Based on the idea that if you stop smoking for 28 days you’re five times more likely to stop for good, Stoptober is a great way to help break a bad habit with the encouragement and support of thousands of people up and down the country.
Reasons to quit
Years of research and clinical studies have proved smoking causes real harm; it increases your risk of developing more than 50 health conditions, including lung cancer, coronary heart disease and phenomena.
If you’ve been smoking since you were a teenager then you’ve likely heard about the health risks a hundred times, but you may not appreciate how smoking is impacting your day-to-day health.
Once you quit, the improvement to your health is striking and immediate; after just 20 minutes your heart rate returns to normal, and after just 48 hours carbon monoxide and nicotine are eliminated from the body and your ability to taste and smell is improved.
Stick with it for a year and your lung function will increase by more than 10%, your circulation will improve, and your risk of heart disease drops to half of that of a person who is still smoking.
Add to that the money saved on cigarettes and the improved appearance of your teeth and skin and there’s no reason not to give it a go.
Tips to help you quit
Deciding to quit is one thing, but as many smokers know, doing it is another thing altogether. If you’re trying to quit this October, here are a few things you can do to set yourself up for success:
- Choose a quit day and mark it on your calendar; avoid a day that’s likely to be stressful and make sure you have no cigarettes, lighters or matches with you or in your home. Avoid common places where people around you might be smoking, like the pub.
- Get the Smokefree app – as part of the NHS’s Stop Smoking service there is a great app that will help you navigate the challenges associated with quitting. If you’re a heavy smoker speak to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist about smoking medicines that will help with nicotine withdrawal symptoms in your first few days.
- Remember why you’re doing it – whether it’s to save money, improve your health or take better care of your family, our reasons for quitting are incredibly personal. Having a clear reason in mind will help you stay focused and motivated as you go.
- Switch things up – keeping busy or building a new routine can help you avoid temptation. Online resources like the NHS Smokefree facebook page can provide a great sense of community for you to go if you’re struggling.
If you’re a smoker and want to get involved, it’s not too late to sign up over on the Stoptober website. It’s free to join and once you’re signed up there are great resources to help you stay motivated plus personal stories of celebrities and comedians who have shared their journey to quit smoking to help you stay focused and positive along the way.
Are you tempted to try Stoptober?