While smoking rates have more than halved since 1974, there are still around 10 million adult smokers in the UK and of these, more than 100,000 die from smoking related causes every year.
According to Action on Smoking and Health (http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_93.pdf), surveys show that about two-thirds of current smokers would like to stop smoking. Campaigns such as next month's Stoptober are aimed at providing the necessary support to help them quit - for good.
Stuart Gale is chief pharmacist, owner and manager of the Frost Pharmacy Group, which comprises three bricks and mortar pharmacies in Banbury and Oxford as well as the online dispensing arm of the business, Oxford Online Pharmacy www.oxfordonlinepharmacy.co.uk. He explains:
"Stoptober provides the perfect excuse to talk to smokers about quitting. Most smokers don't really mind being asked about it and I often find that they have tried numerous times without success, often because of a perceived lack of support. But for those who really want to stop smoking there is plenty of support available, often you just need to know where to look.
"The Smokefree National Helpline (0300 123 1044) provides access to trained, expert advisers if you want someone to talk to and there are many national support websites including: www.quit.org.uk and www.nhs.uk/smokefree where you can get inspiration.
"For face-to-face support, local pharmacies are a great resource, with no appointment needed, services on every high street and availability 6-7 days a week. They are also a convenient access point for Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), which can make you twice as likely to succeed.
"It's never to late to stop smoking. The lungs, heart and circulation all start to heal the moment you quit and studies have shown a direct impact on life expectancy - quit at age 60 and your life expectancy can increase by three years, quit at 30 and this figure is closer to 10 years. No one said it would be easy but, with a little help, you can quit for good."
- Make plans to quit - set a date and stick to it
- Do some ground work - cigarettes taste better after certain foods and drinks. Experiment with flavours and only smoke after consuming flavours which clash with your cigarette
- Manage your cravings - these can last for 5 minutes. Identify five-minute strategies to use as a distraction
- Get some help! Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) including nicotine patches, tablets, lozenges, gum and a nasal spray can be very effective
- Keep your hands busy - if you like the 'act' of smoking try switching to an e-cigarette. Recent reports have revealed that they are 95% less harmful than tobacco
- Keep moving - exercise can cut down cravings, helping your brain to produce anti-craving chemicals
- Make a list of reasons to give up and use this as inspiration when you get tempted
Why Should You Stop Smoking?
Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your health, but how does stopping smoking improve your life?
- Senses, such as taste and smell, work better
- Risk of stroke, heart attack and lung cancer is reduced
- Skin looks younger, teeth whiter
- Blood pressure, asthma symptoms, diabetes and circulation are all improved
- Fertility increases
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