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Top ways to quit - and stay smoke free

Health & Wellbeing

According to campaign group ASH – Action on Smoking and Health, the proportion of smokers in the UK has halved in the last 50 years, and the number of deaths from lung cancer has been steadily falling since the 1980s. That’s good news for the health of the nation.

However, disease related to smoking still kills over 100,000 people in the UK every year – and smoking is still the nation’s single biggest cause of cancer. We believe that’s way too high. The earlier you give up the better, but it’s never too late to try. Even stopping well into adulthood can help add years to your life by cutting your risk of cancer and heart disease.

Research by ASH suggests on their website that smokers are four times more likely to quit with the help of a combination of medical and psychological support. So will power, support groups or nicotine patches alone may not have the same effectiveness as trying them all together. ASH has plenty of tips on offer – here are just a few to get you started:

Prepare mentally

ASH suggests starting by making your own list of reasons for stopping: to live longer, set a good example to your children, save thousands of pounds, take back control in your life... we all have our own good reasons.

And know that you’re not alone – you’re one of seven million people who try every year who make a New Years resolution to quit, read more at the NHS Live Well site.

Get help from the professionals

Ring the NHS Go Smokefree helpline on 0300 123 1044 or visit their website www.nhs.uk/smokefree

If you’re pregnant you can call the pregnancy Quitline on the same number as above . Your doctor, pharmacist or health visitor can also help you to find help from Stop Smoking services in your local area.

Set a date – and involve your family and friends

Don’t underestimate the amount of emotional energy it’ll take to quit. So choose a stop date to help you focus, plan and get ready. Make it 1st January, your birthday, No Smoking Day (in March) or any day in Stoptober. Or whatever day suits you. If you live with someone who smokes, it will be much easier to stop if they quit, too. If you make a commitment to stop, don’t keep it to yourself - share it with friends and family – moral support is worth its weight in gold.

Help yourself overcome nicotine withdrawal

As mentioned on both on ASH's website and the NHS Smokefree website you can double your chances of quitting successfully if you use products like patches, gum, lozenges or inhalers containing nicotine, and wean yourself off the nicotine gradually. There are also prescription-based alternatives, and you can talk about these with your doctor.

Find out more about getting the help and support you need to stop at www.ash.org.uk

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