Leeds Public Health experts urge extra efforts to cut smoking on 30th No Smoking Day
On the 12 March, it is the 30th ‘No Smoking Day’ where thousands of smokers have a go at giving up smoking. For those who succeed, stopping smoking brings a huge amount of benefits for both their health and their wealth.
Paul Lambert is Leeds City Council’s Public Health smoking cessation expert. He explains:
“In my former job as a stop smoking advisor I supported hundreds of people to stop smoking. It might have been more, but I wasn’t counting! The one thing I remember is the positive impact stopping smoking had on their lives. No matter what age you are or how long you have been smoking, the body will do its best to recover. Obviously the sooner you stop the better, but there is a huge amount of research showing health benefits from quitting smoking.
“Within 20 minutes of not smoking, blood pressure reduces and within 24 hours your oxygen levels return to normal and carbon monoxide from smoking has gone. There’s also the long term health gain such as reduced risk of CHD (coronary heart disease), heart attacks, stroke and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Of course the huge sums of money that can be saved – on average over £1800 per year – can make a real difference too.”
Paul knows it helps to understand why you smoke if you’re considering having a go on ‘No Smoking Day’.
“One of things I discussed in my stop smoking sessions was the reasons given by people of why they smoke and whether they are valid. The chances are the reason given to why someone started smoking such as to look older, to be cool, to be part of the gang for instance, are no longer the reasons why they continue to smoke.”
Reasons for smoking increase and change over time leading to greater dependence on tobacco but these reasons are frequently contradictory. So smokers may say they would need a cigarette in the morning to help them wake up, to get them going, but also say they would have a cigarette just before bed to help them relax and go to sleep. Similarly smokers cite stress as a trigger to smoke in the belief it helps them relax, but then still smoke when they are far from stressed and relaxed.
Managing cravings is the key to not smoking and the likelihood is that if you don’t get any cravings you won’t smoke and that’s easy. But as any former smoker knows, success of staying stopped is how a person manages their cravings when they are triggered. The good news is that cravings are time limited and only last a few minutes. If you are a twenty-a-day smoker might initially get twenty cravings to smoke per day but the longer you are smokefree, the greater the reduction cravings generally will be.
For anyone wanting to quit on no smoking day (or any other day), there’s lots of help and support in Leeds. Leeds Stop Smoking Service, run by Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, offers a variety of groups, including one-to-one sessions and drop in clinics across Leeds that can help you quit smoking.
Research shows you’re four times more likely to quit if you combine NHS support and stop smoking medication. You can make an appointment with the service by calling 0800 169 4219 or text: SMOKEFREE to 60066 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information and a list of clinics and times please visit www.leedscommunityhealthcare.nhs.uk/smoking .
Communications and Marketing team
Leeds City Council
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