No Smoking Day is an annual health awareness day in the United Kingdom and the aim is to help smokers who want to quit smoking. The very first No Smoking Day was on Ash Wednesday back in 1984, and it now takes place on the second Wednesday in March.
The theme of No Smoking Day 2023 is ‘Quit and Win’. This years theme is to encourage people to make attempts to quit smoking for their health benefit, wellbeing and for financial gain.
Benefits of quitting smoking
The earlier you quit smoking, the more you’re likely to benefit. Quitting will improve your health whatever your age, no matter how long you have smoked.
- Better physical health – Every time you smoke, your body is flooded with thousands of chemicals, many of which are harmful. As soon as you stop, your body starts clearing itself of all toxins and the repair process begins. Within weeks or even days you will notice your sense of taste and smell improve, you start to breathe more easily, and you will have more energy. You will have better blood circulation to your heart and muscles, which will make physical activity easier, improved lung function, leading to reductions in any coughs, wheezing or other breathing problems.
- Reduced risks of smoking-related diseases – long term risks of cancer, lung disease, heart disease, and stroke are significantly reduced. After 1 year, your risk of heart attack halves, after 10 years your risk of death from lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker and after 15 years your risk of heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked. You are also less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, bone disease including osteoporosis, eye disease and dementia.
- Mental health improves – you may feel like smoking helps you feel better and supports your mental wellbeing and helps you deal with stress and anxiety but the opposite happens. When you stop smoking it boosts your mood and mental health and wellbeing. People have reduced anxiety, depression, and stress.
- Better for your family and friends – for some, stopping smoking for their family or friends is the biggest reason to do it. Being a smoke free role model for your children means they will be less likely to take it up when they are older. Teenagers who have parents or caregivers that smoke are 4 times more likely to take up smoking.
- Protect others from second hand smoke – when you stop smoking you are protecting your loved ones from the potential health hazards of second-hand smoke (sometimes called passive smoking). Second-hand smoke is dangerous to anyone exposed to it, especially for children.
- Save money – the average smoker could save around £38 a week, that’s £2000 a year!
Tips to stop smoking
Find your local stop smoking service
- You are 3 times more likely to stop smoking with professional help. There is always a stop smoking service nearby.
- The trained advisers are there to offer you support, either one to one or in a group, along with stop smoking medicines (prescription charges may be payable).
- Usually, you will start one of the sessions a couple of weeks before you stop smoking and can be done either over the phone or by video call if you can’t be there in person. The sessions are usually held once a week over 4 weeks after you have had your last cigarette.
Evidence shows that people who manage to quit for 28 days are more likely to quit for good.
Stop smoking aids
There are various aids to help you stop smoking such as;
- nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs), such as patches, sprays, gum and lozenges
- nicotine vapes (e-cigarettes)
- prescription-only medicines (tablets)
- You can ask a doctor or pharmacist for more advice on what’s best for you or get free expert support from a stop smoking service – to give you the best chance of quitting for good.
Vaping to quit smoking – there is a lot of mis-leading information surrounding vaping. It is a lot less harmful than smoking and it is also one of most effective tools for quitting smoking.
- Vaping is not recommended for non-smokers and young people because it can still be harmful.
- Vapes are electronic devices that allow you to inhale nicotine in a vapour instead of smoke. This is done by heating a solution (e-liquid) that typically contains propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, flavourings, and nicotine. E-liquids come in various nicotine strengths, so you control how much nicotine you need to help with cravings and other withdrawal symptoms, such as feeling irritable and having low mood.
- Nicotine itself is not actually that harmful and it has been used safely for many years in medicines to help people stop smoking.
- The routine and habit of smoking daily, can make it really hard to stop, so vaping can help you gradually stop whilst reducing the health risks of smoking cigarettes. Some people find vaping helps them because the hand-to-mouth action is like smoking, plus you get similar sensations to smoking.
- Any smoking is harmful, and you will only get the full benefits of vaping if you stop smoking entirely. Some people manage to switch very quickly, while for others it can take longer.
We hope these tips will help and give you lots advice if you want to stop smoking.
Cross Counties Training offer Mental Health Training which may help on your journey to stop smoking.