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Quitting smoking is always possible with the right method. This may include therapy and resources from the NHS, over the counter treatments and prescription tablets. No matter the technique you adopt when looking to stop smoking, a combination of effective treatment to suit your lifestyle and willpower will be your biggest aid.
To assist you in quitting smoking you can buy prescription tablets such as Champix - an effective smoking cessation medication available - after completing a free consultation with us online. When your consultation is approved our doctor will issue a prescription and pass it to our pharmacy where it will be dispatched for free next day delivery.
Smoking is a widely publicised habit with only negative effects. It is the biggest cause of preventable death in the UK with around 78,000 people dying from smoking each year. Cigarettes contain harmful chemicals including tar, carbon monoxide and nicotine that all lead to long-term health complications. Quitting this addictive substance is difficult however there are a whole host of methods that can help you stop smoking for good. The benefits of quitting occur almost immediately after your last cigarette.
Cigarettes contain nicotine, which is the highly addictive chemical that makes the habit hard to quit, especially permanently. This makes going "cold turkey" (stopping smoking abruptly with no further insistence) near impossible for the vast majority of smokers. In fact, most smokers looking to quit end up relapsing when trying to go it alone, which is why there are many treatments and methods out there designed to help.
Smoking puts you at a higher risk of several serious conditions. The most serious condition related to smoking is cancer. 7 out of 10 cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking but it also causes cancer across other parts of the body including your throat, bladder, mouth, bowel, larynx (voice box) and kidneys to name a few. As well as lung cancer, it causes other respiratory conditions such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - which includes bronchitis and emphysema) and pneumonia. It can also worsen symptoms of a common cold, asthma and other respiratory tract infections (RTIs) such as pneumonia and coronavirus (COVID-19).
Smoking also damages your heart and blood circulation, leading to conditions such as high blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks, coronary heart disease as well as erectile dysfunction due to restricted blood flow. Smoking whilst pregnant also has severe complications including stillbirth, premature birth and a low birth weight. Stopping smoking whilst pregnant will significantly benefit you and your baby. Smoking has also been known to reduce the effectiveness of certain contraceptive methods and should always be mentioned during a doctor's check-up. In fact, when treating any range of conditions from obesity to impotence, doctors will always recommend quitting smoking.
The cost of cigarettes can be a significant factor in choosing to quit smoking. Many smokers could be able to save at least hundreds of pounds a year depending on the extent of their habit. In addition to cigarette costs for the individual, NHS resources will decrease when becoming an ex-smoker based on those needing medication or treatment for smoke related conditions and illnesses. At the present time, these costs are approximately £2 billion every year.
As a smoker, you aren't the only one at risk of developing serious health problems, but non-smokers in your environment are also more likely to develop respiratory problems due to exposure to secondhand smoke. The smoke exhaled from a cigarette that is visible is only a small percentage, with much of the smoke being invisible to the naked eye. Opening windows or doors is not an effective way to combat this as smoke can linger in the air for 2-3 hours. Only smoking in one room also does not help as smoke can travel throughout the house or building. NHS figures show that the amount of children being exposed to said smoke is significant with doctors and GPs receiving visits from approximately 250,000 children due to secondhand smoking. It can cause children serious health complications so smoking around children should be avoided.
Quitting smoking firstly requires the willpower and desire to stop permanently. Without these, any method will be an uphill struggle and the success rate reflects this. Smoking cessation treatments vary from person to person and quite often, a combination can work the most effectively. For example, many people call upon the free NHS resources at your disposal as well as proven medication, whether that's in the form of tablets, patches, nicotine gum or lozenges.
When deciding to stop smoking, there are usually some factors to consider before coming up with your quit plan, which can be discussed with your doctor or medical professional. This may include your age and other lifestyle choices as well as medical history of yourself and your family. It may also depend on the number of cigarettes you smoke daily. You should plan your attempt to stop smoking carefully for better results:
A gradual process is always favoured over a quick fix due to the side effects your body goes through once you stop smoking. For example, prescription medication such as Champix is taken over a 12-week course with many people choosing to continue with a second dosage, whilst patches and gums must be applied continually to maintain the nicotine intake your body has become accustomed to. This combined with support from loved ones or from counselling can be the perfect method, but ultimately perseverance, willpower and a strong network of support will help you kick the habit for good.
Quitting smoking can affect our bodies in many different ways, not just physically but also psychologically. The main reason for these effects is that cigarettes contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive substance that is able to influence the hormones released in the brain that make you think that you need a cigarette. Many people find that having a cigarette in a stressful situation helps to relax them, when in fact it's just temporarily satisfying the brain's craving for nicotine.
When you are physically dependent on cigarettes, stopping smoking can cause you some physical side effects, however it is important to remember that these are temporary. The diagram below shows that these effects can range from headaches to agitation and the shakes. Whilst these seem unpleasant, the likelihood of them lasting a long time is extremely low. In fact, statistics show that the majority of people normally experience these for a couple of days, but they can test even the most determined ex-smoker's reserve.
One of the main reasons people find that they start smoking again after giving up is the emotional and psychological effect nicotine withdrawal has on them, something that is reflected in the diagram below. This is especially amplified if you often use smoking as a way to deal with stressful day-to-day situations, or to help you relax. In addition, the habit of having a cigarette after every meal, for example, can be as strong a smoking trigger as the addictive substance itself. In order to cope with them effectively it is helpful to know what to expect so that you can prepare.
The side effects you experience when you quit smoking are what can make it difficult to stay smoke free, however setting an end goal can help you overcome the side effects.
It’s important to remember that the long-term health benefits far outweigh the temporary withdrawal symptoms. In fact, significant health benefits begin to develop as soon as 20 minutes after smoking your last cigarette. Your health will continue to exponentially improve week by week and by 1 year, your risk of a heart attack will have halved!
Some people manage to give up using willpower alone, but the majority call on extra help, which is widely available. Cravings and mood swings can be managed so you can kick the habit for good.
Prescription medication is available and proven effective at helping you quit smoking. This includes Champix, a course of tablets lasting approximately 12-weeks. Champix has the highest success rate of any other type of smoking cessation at 50%. This increases further if you decide to opt for a second dosage of treatment (24-week course altogether). Champix works by minimising cravings and actually helps you develop a dislike for the habit. It doesn't use nicotine like many over the counter methods meaning you can steer away from nicotine dependency.
Various forms of behavioural therapy can also be explored as suitable methods and can be particularly successful when combined with a more physical method of smoking cessation. The NHS have a number of support groups, whether that is one-on-one to group sessions that are free that can be used at whatever stage in your journey. Ex-smokers can also visit these support groups in the future if they are fearful of relapsing.
Over the counter medication, also known as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), is well known when researching smoking cessation. Whilst it isn't clinically proven and the success rates vary massively (the permanent quitting rate when using just a NRT method is just 17%) some find gum and patches to be the perfect method when quitting. NRT can come in the form of patches, gums, lozenges, inhalers and nasal sprays all available over the counter and may be advised after a discussion with your doctor or GP.
E-cigarettes – also known as vaping - are a new and popular method but the research surrounding them is still ongoing. However, they do not produce tobacco smoke or contain the same chemicals so they differ in risk to normal cigarettes. They can help psychological factors associated with smoking, for example, keeping your hand busy.
Going cold turkey only works for a small number of smokers, however combining this tactic with a strong support network of family and friends can make it successful. When deciding to quit, it is advisable to tell your friends and family. This means existing smokers will be far more wary (you might even persuade them to join you) and they can help you in your time of need (during the side effects and cravings).
The NHS has a program called SmokeFree which has its own free app to help you quit smoking. It allows you to monitor your progress including the savings you've made so far, tips on continuing your journey and all online resources. There are also a whole host of apps in your respective app store (free and paid) that can help you keep track of your progress to the point where you happily don't need it anymore.
It's never too late to quit smoking. If you are unsure of which method of smoking cessation to use, consult your GP or speak to one of our doctors online who can recommend a suitable quit plan for you.
At euroClinix, we only offer clinically proven medication that requires a prescription. At euroClinix, this includes Champix and Zyban. Patients who want a reliable stop-smoking treatment can complete a short, confidential online consultation. You just need to answer some questions about your health and lifestyle to make sure you are suitable for this treatment. Your medication will be dispensed and dispatched to your address with free next-day delivery.
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