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Why should you stop smoking?

Put plainly,  smoking is bad for your health and when you stop smoking, you decrease your risk of a shortened life expectancy as well as reducing your chances of developing diseases such as lung cancer. Identifying the reasons why you should stop smoking will help you to stay motivated on your journey to quitting and will make resisting cravings much easier. 

 

The benefits of quitting are almost immediate! Just 48 hours after you stop, the mucus in your lungs begins to clear, your body becomes clear of carbon monoxide and you’ll notice the difference in your breathing. 

Reasons why you should stop smoking

There are lots of reasons why you should consider quitting smoking, here are just some health benefits as a result of stopping smoking:

Breathe better

When you stop smoking, your lung capacity improves up to 10% in just 9 months, allowing you to breathe much easier and cough less. For younger smokers below the age of thirty, it can be difficult to notice the effect of smoking on your ability to breathe until you engage in physical activities - however, this will become more noticeable in later years as lung capacity diminishes with age. It’s never too late to quit!

Improve fertility

It can be more difficult for smokers to fall pregnant and stopping smoking can help you to conceive. For females, stopping smoking will improve the lining of the womb and for males, their sperm becomes healthier. Of course, stopping smoking will also increase the chances of giving birth to a healthy baby and lessen the chances of a baby being born prematurely. 

Improve the appearance of your skin

Smoking can lead to ageing skin, including: wrinkles, baggy eyelids and discoloration. When you stop smoking, you can slow the ageing of your skin as non-smokers get more nutrients and oxygen.  

Decrease the chances of developing artery disease

Smokers are at an increased risk of developing heart and circulatory diseases. Smoking will make the walls of your arteries sticky from the chemicals in cigarettes and this can lead to fatty substances attaching to them. Consequently, arteries can become clogged and if those arteries are carrying blood to your heart, you may suffer a heart attack. Moreover, if your arteries carrying blood to your brain become clogged or damaged, you may suffer a stroke. If you stop smoking, you can reduce these risks and improve your health. 

Fresher breath and whiter teeth

Those who smoke may suffer from bad breath and stained teeth and for many of us, our appearance can play a big part in confidence. If you choose to stop smoking, not only will your breath be fresher and teeth less likely to stain, you will also be less likely to develop gum disease which can ultimately lead to tooth loss. 

Decrease stress levels

It’s a myth that smoking helps you to destress. The truth is that nicotine actually contributes to feelings of stress and research shows that stress levels are reduced when people stop smoking. It is important to note that stress caused by smoke-withdrawal is very similar to other stresses, therefore, smoking can make us feel more relaxed - if you stay motivated and learn to resist the urge to smoke, you will notice an improvement to your stress levels. 

Increase your energy 

When you stop smoking, your blood circulation will improve and make physical activities much easier and more enjoyable. In addition to this, having more oxygen in the body can reduce feelings of exhaustion and headaches. 

Think clearer

Quitting smoking can help you to think clearer and help to break the cycle of addiction. After approximately a month of quitting, the nicotine receptors in your brain will return to normal levels. 

Live longer

Smokers are more likely to die early as a result of smoke-related diseases, including lung cancer and heart disease. So, not only will stopping smoking give you more years to enjoy with your friends and family, but you will be healthier and more mobile in your later years of life. 

Protect your family and friends

Even secondhand smoke (smoke exhaled and created by the lit end of a cigarette) can be dangerous for others, particularly for children. This is because the majority of the smoke disperses into the air rather than into your lungs and others who breathe this smoke in often may suffer health issues as a result. Those at particular risk are pregnant women, as smoking can lead to premature birth, and children, who are more likely to develop breathing issues such as asthma. 

Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and some cancers

Smoking can increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Alarmingly, smokers are 30-40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and smoking is also linked to at least 15 different types of cancer. When you stop smoking, you reduce your risks of developing these diseases. 

Improve sex 

Male smokers may suffer from erectile dysfunction (as smoking affects the body's blood flow) so quitting can help to reduce the chances of this and improve the possibility of having a healthy sexual life. For females, they may find they are aroused easier and see improvements to orgasms. Overall, stopping smoking can lead to better sex

Save money

We all know that smoking is not a cheap habit and stopping smoking can save you a lot of money in the long run. The cost of smoking has increased by nearly 100% over the past 10 years. The average smoker can save £1,800 a year by stopping smoking. A 20-a-day smoker can save up to £4,000 a year! You can calculate how much you could save by stopping smoking here.

 

We’ve listed plenty of good reasons to consider quitting smoking, however, it can help to write down a list of personal reasons you would like to quit. Stopping smoking is no easy task, so being self-motivated will take you far. 

What happens when you stop smoking? 

When you stop smoking, you will begin to notice changes to your body and improvements to your health in as little as 20 minutes. Here’s what happens when you quit:

After 20 minutes

You will notice that your pulse rate is returning to normal.

After 8 hours

Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in your blood will have halved and oxygen levels will return to normal.

After 48 hours

your lungs will clear out mucus, carbon monoxide will be flushed out and you will begin to notice improvements to your senses of taste and smell.

After 72 hours

Breathing becomes easier and your energy levels will increase.

After 2 - 12 weeks

Circulation will have improved meaning your blood will be able to pump through to your heart and muscles much easier.

After 3-9 months

Your lung function will have improved and coughing and shortness of breath decrease.

After 1 year

Your risks of coronary heart disease and heart attacks will be half of that of a continuing  smoker’s. 

After 10 years

You risk of dying from lung cancer will be half of that of a continuing smoker’s. Your risk of developing kidney and pancreas cancers also decrease. 

Final reflection on stopping smoking

So, now that you are familiar with some of the benefits of stopping smoking, it is time for you to consider your personal motivations. As we’ve mentioned, the journey to becoming smoke-free is challenging and self-motivation can really help you to stay on track and resist cravings. You can start by asking yourself the following:

 

  • What are my concerns with smoking?
  • How is smoking affecting my health?
  • What are the consequences of smoking on myself, my family and friends?
  • What improvements will I see in my life if I quit smoking? 
  • How much money will I save if I stop smoking?

 

Keep your answers and a list of other motivations in a place where you will always be reminded of them. These daily reminders may help you if you have strong cravings and will work to maintain self-motivation. 

Looking for support to stop smoking? 

If you live in Dorset and want to stop smoking, we are here to help! You can register or have a chat with us today to begin your journey in stopping smoking - our friendly team of advisors and coaches will be with you every step of the way. 

Lynette

"The LiveWell team are amazing. Every time I speak to them, they are so helpful. Having someone on the end of the phone is an amazing boost."

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How does this work?

The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

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