Across the UK, people are putting down the cigarettes and taking up the challenge of Stoptober. This is when, during October, people are encouraged to not smoke for 28 days. Studies have shown that if you’re able to go 28 days without a cigarette, you are five times more likely to quit for good.
When you first start thinking about quitting smoking, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. It can feel like such a big challenge to take on and you may not feel like you’re up to it.
However, rather than focus on the challenges you may face giving up smoking, you can remind yourself of all the things you can gain during the process. From improving your heart and lungs to having more energy and money. We’ve put together a list of how you could benefit from stopping smoking.
Every day you don’t smoke, you are taking a further step into living a healthier lifestyle. If you’re looking for some motivation into taking that first step with your stop smoking journey, then you’re in the right place.
Lung Health & Immunity
Smoking affects your lung function and immunity. We’ve all come to realise just how important both of these things are during the past 18 months. After quitting, the cilia (tiny hairs) in your lungs can start to repair and clear out mucus and dirt. This allows your body to fight infections better.
It doesn’t take long for your body to start feeling these benefits. After just 48 hours, all carbon monoxide will be flushed out of your system. After 72 hours, you’ll be breathing easier. Your bronchial tubes (the airways in your lungs) will have started to relax. You’ll find your energy levels increasing. You’ll notice an improved sense of taste and smell.
Stopping smoking doesn’t just help your lungs and immune system, it also helps your heart. Within hours of quitting, your heart rate will return to normal. During the first three months, blood will be pumping through your heart and muscles better because your circulation will have improved. After quitting smoking for a whole year, your risk of having a heart attack will have halved compared to a smoker’s.
While there are plenty of physical benefits to talk about, did you know that stopping smoking boosts your mental health and well-being? It’s a common belief that smoking helps you relax, but this is not true. Smoking makes you feel more tense and anxious. This is because it confuses the chemicals in your brain. When you don’t have a cigarette for a while, you may notice you start to feel irritable and anxious. You associate your mood improving with having a cigarette, when the smoking itself is impacting your mood.
Studies have shown that when people stop smoking: anxiety and depression levels lower, mood improves, and in some cases people can lower their medication used to treat their mental health problems.
Making the decision to stop smoking will not only benefit you but also your family. You can make a positive impact on your children, or grandchildren. Did you know that children are three times more likely to smoke if their parents or grandparents smoke too? By changing your habits now, you can help them in the future.
Quitting smoking can benefit your health and those around you. However, it can also benefit your bank account. On average, most people who quit smoking save around £250 per month. When a pack costs approximately £10, you can see how quickly this adds up. If you want to work out how much money you’d save a month, you can use this handy cost calculator right here.
If you’re thinking about quitting smoking, remember that you don’t have to do it alone. If you choose to use a stop smoking treatment, along with having expert support from your local stop smoking service, you will be 3 times more likely to quit successfully. You can find out more about our stop smoking services here.
Good luck to everyone taking part in Stoptober. We’re here to support you.