There are currently 7.2 million adult smokers in the UK. No Smoking Day, taking place on March 14th this year, is an annual health awareness day aimed at helping those who want to quit smoking. In fact, 1 in 10 smokers actually do quit on No Smoking Day, so in accordance we’ve put together a list of 5 reasons why you should quit smoking, and 3 ways how you can beat the single greatest cause of preventable illness and early death in the UK.
Smoking causes both short-term and long-term health effects–both of which are widely known. After a cigarette, your body immediately begins the healing process: your pulse returns to a normal rate after 20 minutes, your oxygen levels after eight hours and there is no nicotine left in the body after 48 hours. After one year, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker, after 10 years your risk of lung cancer is also half and after 15 years, your risk of having a heart attack is the same as someone who has never smoked. Non-smokers also have a lower risk of stroke, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and 13 other cancers and various diseases.
With all those cancers and diseases on the line, life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than for non-smokers. In fact, smokers who quit before the age of 40 reduce their chances of dying early from smoking-related diseases by about 90 percent. And for all the cancer deaths in the UK each year, smoking accounts for a quarter of them. It’s safe to say that if you want to live as long of a healthy life as possible, you should quit smoking.
3. Secondhand smoke
Smoking doesn’t just affect the smoker themselves. Also known as passive smoking, second-hand smoking is breathing in other people’s smoke. Second-hand smoking can increase a non-smoker’s risk of getting lung cancer by a quarter and may also increase the risk of cancers of the larynx and pharynx. It is particularly dangerous for children, who are at a higher risk of respiratory infections, asthma, bacterial meningitis and cot death. Second-hand smoke has been linked to 165,000 new cases of disease among children in the UK each year.
On average, most people who quit smoking save up to £250 per month, adding up to nearly £3,000 per year. Luckily, there are dozens of free calculators online that can calculate the exact amount of money you would save by inputting how many cigarettes you smoke per day and how much you pay per pack–go see for yourself! Not only will you save yourself money, but you could decrease the annual £2.6 billion smoking-related cost to the NHS.
For most, it takes about 6 minutes to smoke a cigarette. 6 minutes might not seem like a lot of time, but it does add up, especially considering that about 20% of smokers smoke one pack of cigarettes per day. That adds up to a total of 2 hours smoking every day, 2.5 days smoking every month, 2 weeks smoking every 6 months, and one month smoking every year. What could you be doing with that time instead?
1. Make a plan
There is no one way to quit smoking, but in general, most people seeking to quit smoking set a quitting date. Stick to it–including the ‘not a drag’ rule, and see to it that your cravings pass. Think ahead to when you might struggle the most, at a party or social gatherings for example, and plan your actions in advance–including escape routes! If you stop smoking for 28 days, you’re five times more likely to stop for good, so make a plan for at least that amount of time.
2. Switch coffee for herbal tea
Nicotine withdrawal can make you feel jittery, and it is widely known that caffeine in coffee and other drinks can make your anxiety even worse. So switch out the coffee for herbal, caffeine-free teas, which are full of health benefits anyway! Try to brew yourself a cup when you would normally have a cigarette–the ritual of sipping a hot drink can help you cut out other cravings.
3. Make non-smoking friends
Only 4 to 7 percent of smokers are able to quit by doing it alone. If you have friends or family members who also want to give smoking up, suggest partnering up and holding each other to it. You’re up to four times more likely to quit with expert help too, so if in doubt, remember to seek out professional, medical advice from a therapist or counselor.
If you want to quit smoking with professional advice, be sure to contact a medical professional. With the Qured app, you can see a doctor at a time and location of your choice. Download the app today -> onelink.to/jtygac.