While taking it outside is a great way to protect your family, you might also be thinking about quitting smoking – the single biggest step you can take to reduce your own risk of a range of serious smoking related disease such as cancer, heart disease and stroke.
Some of the benefits of stopping are immediate and some are longer-term.
Surprising as it may seem you are better off stopping abruptly, NOT trying to gradually cut down. Research has found that when smokers stop abruptly they are more likely to succeed.
Even if you’ve tried before, don’t worry – it can take some people several tries and getting the right support can also help your chances of success. Here are some of the options below:
Getting help from your local stop smoking service boosts your chances of success compared to trying to quit unaided. You can find out about the local support available below:
Many people use a stop smoking medicine to reduce cigarette cravings and withdrawal symptoms from quitting smoking. You will find it easier to get on with your life without constantly thinking about smoking.
The two main stop-smoking medicines are Champix and Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). In most parts of the North East, you can get either of these from your GP or a pharmacist.
These medicines only work if you use them properly and follow the full course.
Find out more about stop smoking medicines and quitting aids at https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree/help-and-advice/prescription-medicines
Many people find e-cigarettes – also known as vapes – helpful for stopping smoking. E-cigarettes aren’t completely risk free but they carry a fraction of the risk of cigarettes. Quitting with an e-cigarette is particularly effective when combined with expert face-to-face support.
Vapes are designed for users to inhale nicotine without most of the harmful effects of smoking. As there is no burning involved, there is no smoke. Unlike cigarettes, Vapes do not produce tar and carbon monoxide. The vapour has been found to contain some toxicants also found in cigarette smoke, but at very much lower levels.
It is important to stop smoking tobacco completely and if you are using a vape, ensure you are properly managing your cravings. People using vapes who use too little nicotine have less success at quitting smoking. Tank style devices are also more effective than versions which resemble cigarettes.
The most effective way to quit is with face-to-face expert support and this is available free from local stop smoking services, who welcome people using their own vapes to quit. See the list above to find yours. If you smoke, switching completely to vaping is likely to significantly reduce your risks but if you don't smoke, don't vape.
For more information about vaping, visit the NHS Smokefree website.
If you are going it alone you will want to make sure you are giving yourself the best possible chance of success. Set a quit date (it could be today), and then do everything you can to avoid even a single puff on a cigarette!
Public Health England offers free quitting tools to help keep you going, such as the Smokefree App, email and Facebook messenger support to give you motivation wherever you are. Click to sign up and get your Personal Quit Plan.