Everyone’s got a habit they want to quit, be it smoking or binge-watching Doctor Who, and while some are relatively harmless, others can have a serious impact on your long-term health. In this article we’ll look at why it’s so hard to stop smoking and just what people mean when they talk about Stoptober.
First a few reasons why smoking a pack a day isn’t the kindest thing you can do to your body… or your purse: here’s a cost calculator to help you see how much you can save. https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree/why-quit/cost-calculator
Did you know 100,000 people die every year because of smoking with many more living with smoking related illnesses? That’s not surprising when your average cigarette contains over 4000 chemicals, 69 of which are proven to be carcinogenic.
90% of lung cancer is caused by smoking (NHS website)
Ever wondered what gives a cigarette its distinctive flavour? Manufactures add the not-so-special ingredient, urea (the chemical found in urine), to enhance the flavour.
And that’s not the worst of it! The people around you are put at risk as well because of passive smoking. Children and babies are particularly vulnerable to second-hand smoke, so you smoking your cigarettes could put your little baby siblings at risk of chest infections, meningitis and increased symptoms of asthma.
It’s no wonder many smokers – 69% of them in fact – want to quit completely. Unfortunately that’s easier said than done.
What makes smoking such a pleasurable experience for some people is a chemical called nicotine. Nicotine alters the balance of dopamine and noradrenaline, two of the chemicals in your brain. This affects your mood and concentration levels, a sensation many smokers find enjoyable.
The effect is fast acting as the nicotine rushes straight to your brain when you inhale it, instantly producing feelings of contentment and reduced stress. It is easy to become dependent on the nicotine to create this relaxed feeling, especially after a hard day, and the more you smoke, the less effect nicotine has on your brain. This means you keep smoking more cigarettes so you can get more nicotine and feel that relaxed feeling again.
You’ve probably seen signs like these all around college and on the bottom of emails. The NHS is running the Stoptober campaign to help smokers leave smoking behind. From the first of October, thousands of smokers will be taking the plunge and will be breaking their habit.
The goal is simple: go 28 days without a cigarette.
The reason behind this objective is even simpler: people who go 28 days without smoking are 5 times more likely to quit for good.
The initiative offers a range of services from an app to give you daily nudges (complete with crave buster and running total of how much you’ve saved) to a Facebook Messenger bot to give advice when you need it most, plus an email service to help you start the day motivated.
Visit their website to find out more about the ways you can stop smoking and to join the Stoptober movement: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/stoptober/home#OZwcZHEHVLyuCiXX.97