If you do one thing this year to improve your health, wealth and well-being, giving up smoking has to be top of the list.
With a packet of 20 cigarettes costing nearly £10 and the number of places to puff decreasing all the time, combined with the shocking effects this bad habit has on your health and skin, now is the time to put the smoke behind you.
You might not know this but within 2 to 12 weeks of stopping smoking your blood circulation will improve making physical activity dramatically easier.
Quitting can boost your immune system, reduce tiredness and headaches as it is easier for your body to get the oxygen it needs. Your skin will glow again, your libido may pick up and if you are trying for a baby, giving up cigarettes can improve fertility. You will be able to taste your food, your hands will be clean and your risk of lung cancer, heart disease and strokes will decrease.
Whether you are a social smoker, coffee time smoker or hardened smoker, giving up can be really tough but it can be done and is so worth it.
Cold turkey is an option of course, but this takes massive will power, determination and focus.
Talking to your GP is a positive step towards breaking the habit. Your doctor has many resources to hand that can help you stop smoking and as well as highlighting the dangers of smoking, they will also outline the benefits of stopping, how to do it and how you adjust your lifestyle.
There is an NHS Stop Smoking Service available that is pretty good. From one-to-one sessions with an adviser to group and drop-in services this is a hands on, supportive way to stop. The NHS Smokefree website is packed with resources and if you call the national helpline on 0300 123 1044 you can talk things over with a helpful, trained adviser.
We all know that cigarettes are addictive and for some people will power alone isn’t enough so nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can be used. This provides a low-level dose of nicotine but doesn’t come with the carbon monoxide, tar and numerous other poisonous chemicals found in tobacco smoke. Chewing gum, tablets, sprays and patches are all options and can be bought over the counter or prescribed by your GP.
The verdict is still out on e-cigarettes but while they aren’t entirely risk free, they are a lot safer than cigarettes and many people credit them for getting them off the hard stuff.
Some ex-smokers swear by hypnotherapy. Hypnosis can help access the REM state and when your deeper, unconscious mind is open to ideas and suggestions. Over a number of sessions your therapist will work to reprogramme your unconscious so don’t want to smoke. Don’t believe us, give it a go and we think you will be surprised.
However you decide to quit, beware that for many people it isn’t easy but the benefits are worth it – as the saying goes, no pain no gain.