Despite all the health warnings an incredible fourteen percent of us Brummies continue to smoke.
Alarmingly, smoking is still the leading preventable cause of death in the city and across the West Midlands.
It’s not just a local problem.
Nationally, the addictive habit causes 75,000 preventable deaths.
And addiction is given as the main reason that people continue to smoke.
But, it’s never too late to stop. With the month of Stoptober upon us, BirminghamWorld has looked at the best ways to help more Brummies quit the habit. We’ve spoken to a stop smoking expert and some ex-smokers who are full of brilliant tips and inspiration to help you finally quit.
We hope you find this useful.
Make it personal
Protecting your family from secondhand smoke, or lowering your chances of getting lung cancer, heart disease or other conditions are among some of the most important reasons that people give up smoking.
Or you may want to just look and feel younger. Choose a reason and stick to it.
Don’t do it alone
If only it was as simple as chucking the fag packet out and never looking back.
With addiction being the main reason people smoke its really important to get help - from your local health service, friends, classes or apps. As we’re in Stoptober there’s loads of advice online and Facebook groups that you can join to help. We’ve got some links you can follow at the end of the story.
Louise Ross, a clinical consultant at the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training, told BirminghamWorld: “One of the most important things is - don’t do it alone.
““You might have friends and family members who also smoke, you might want to buddy up with them and do it together so that you can support each other during those first few challenging weeks.
“We know it’s not easy, but lots and lots of people have done it and it can be done”
Find healthy ways to relax
Some smokers say that having a cigarette is their way of relaxing. But there are so many much more healthy ways to relax, so why not make a habit out of one of them?
Exercise is an especially great way to help you blow off steam, or chill out to some tunes, call a friend or treat yourself to a spa day or take up a new hobby you’ve always thought about.
Avoid triggers that make you want to smoke
Many smokers enjoy a cigarette with a drink - but alcohol lowers will-power so and can make it much harder for you to stick to your no-smoking goal. It’s a similar case for coffee and tea, if you enjoy a cigarette with a cuppa, or even after a meal you may want to think about doing something else at this time.
Suggestions include brushing your teeth, takinga walk, texting a friend or chewing gum.
The cost of cigarettes has never been higher, and there’s no sign of them coming down in price either.
One of the biggest benefits of giving up is saving cash.
You could reward yourself by spending part of it on something fun.
Keep going - top tips from ex-smokers Abi and Ella
Abi Otley said: “I was fed up of waking up coughing and, you know, and not being able to breathe, so I decided to switch to a vape.
“To start with, I went with smoking and vaping, at the same time. And then I managed to pack them in altogether.
“It was quite hard to give up smoking. But with the help of the vape it was easier.”
Ella Brady gave up smoking as a 40th birthday present to herself.
She’s seen numerous health benefits since quitting.
Ella said: “You know, going on in time, I don’t think I would be as healthy as I am now if I did continue to smoke. So that’s how I look at it. Just persevere because it’s worth it for your health in older age. Breathing issues as you get older is a problem. And also - the old pocket! It saves an awful lot of money, doesn’t it?”
What are the health benefits?
Within 20 minutes of quitting smoking you’re body starts to react and improves within days.
Here’s a lowdown from the NHS outlining of the timescale and benefits you will experience :
After 8 hours
Your oxygen levels are recovering, and the harmful carbon monoxide level in your blood will have reduced by half.
After 48 hours
All carbon monoxide is flushed out. Your lungs are clearing out mucus and your senses of taste and smell are improving.
After 72 hours
If you notice that breathing feels easier, it’s because your bronchial tubes have started to relax. Also your energy will be increasing.
After 2 to 12 weeks
Blood will be pumping through to your heart and muscles much better because your circulation will have improved.
After 3 to 9 months
Any coughs, wheezing or breathing problems will be improving as your lung function increases by up to 10%.
After 1 year
Great news! Your risk of heart attack will have halved compared with a smoker’s.
After 10 years
More great news! Your risk of death from lung cancer will have halved compared with a smoker’s
More great news! Your risk of death from lung cancer will have halved compared with a smoker’s.
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