Around 10 million people in the UK smoke regularly, and around another 10 million are ex-smokers. However you dress it up, it’s true that smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your health, and giving up smoking is probably the single best thing you can do to improve your health. However, giving up smoking, like all the worthwhile things in life, is really hard (I am writing this as an ex 30+ a day smoker, so I’d like to think that I know what I’m talking about here).
This is not the place for a stack of facts and figures about why smoking is bad for you. Smokers have been told all of them a hundred times, and adults didn’t come here for a lecture! One thing that seems true of most smokers as well, is that they are stubborn, and they are individuals. They don’t like being told what to do, and who can blame them? The worst thing you can do to make a smoker quit is to lecture them or tell them to quit. It’ll make them more stubborn about it!
Sadly, there is no ‘magic cure’ for smoking. What works for one person won’t work for another, but one thing seems to hold true. You have to really, really want to quit. More than that, you have to have it beaten in your mind. I didn’t know what this meant until it happened to me, but now it makes perfect sense to me, but it’s hard to describe. It’s a sense of knowing that not only do you not need to smoke, you also don’t want one.
Once you know you really want to quit, there are loads of ways to help you along the way:
* Nicotine Replacement Therapy, which includes patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers and electronic cigarettes/vapes.
* Support groups
* Prescription medication, such as Zyban and Champix
Almost certainly the best place to go for help is the NHS Smokefree site where you can order a free ‘quit kit’ , impartial advice on stop smoking aids, video interviews with people who’ve successfully quit, advice and information, and some really handy quit tools like a calculator of how much money you’d save, and a quiz to determine what kind of addiction you have, as well as a quit app for your phone. There’s a freephone number to speak to an advisor, or online chat as well. Your local GP will have lots of resources as well, from specialist smoking cessation nurses to local support groups, all of which is free. If you want to try a stop smoking aid, almost all of them are available on prescription, which will save you a lot of money and, if you don’t pay for your prescriptions, you’ll also get for free.
In addition to the NHS, the charity QUIT has some great resources, information, FAQs, testimonials from ex-smokers, and other handy interactive stuff.
Finally, if you’re in the process of quitting, or you’re planning to quit; we’d like to wish you good luck and all the best in your endeavour. You can do it!