Want to quit?
GPs are delighted to help people who have decided to quit smoking. About 40% of smokers will die from a smoking-related condition, so they know that stopping is one change that will make a big difference to your life.
You will see health benefits within days, such as improved taste and smell, while important benefits, such as lower risks of heart attack, stroke, lung cancer and improvements in breathing will happen in the first year or two.
Your GP will probably have been chasing you to stop smoking if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, circulation problems or history of stroke, heart attack, angina, asthma or chronic lung disorders.
We understand that many people who smoke are not interested in stopping but we also want to ensure that anyone who does wish to quit is aware there is support available.
So, if you want to give up smoking you can make use of the many types of support which are available. These services are very good at tailoring treatment to your lifestyle habits. With medication and the support of these services, you're four times more likely to give up successfully.
Stop Smoking Service (Quit51) on 0800 622 6968 or visit :- http://www.quit51.co.uk/
- FREE SERVICE
- Run by professionals
- Local day time and evening clinics - some here at the surgery (bookable on-line or at reception)
- Evening telephone support
- Day time one-to-one sessions
- 7 week programme
- NRT/Zyban/Champix advice (NRT, Zyban and Champix are available on prescription from your GP if you seek support in quitting smoking.)
NHS smoking helpline: Freephone: 0800 169 0 169 http://smokefree.nhs.uk/
If you are pregnant you can get advice from the midwife smoking advisor or from the national NHS Pregnancy Smoking Helpline 0800 169 9 169.
Or visit your pharmacy.
Hints & Tips
Write a list of the reasons why you want to stop, and keep them with you. Refer to them when tempted to light up.
Set a date for stopping, and stop completely. This is more likely to work than slowly cutting down.
Tell everyone that you are giving up smoking. Friends and family often give support and may help you. If appropriate, try to get other household members who smoke, or friends who smoke, to stop smoking at the same time. A 'team' effort may be easier than going it alone. Get rid of ashtrays, lighters, and all cigarettes.
Be prepared for some withdrawal symptoms. When you stop smoking, you are likely to get symptoms which may include: nausea (feeling sick), headaches, anxiety, irritability, craving, and just feeling awful. These symptoms are caused by the lack of nicotine that your body has been used to. They tend to peak after 12-24 hours, and then gradually ease over 2-4 weeks. It is also common for a 'smokers cough' to get worse for a few weeks when you first stop smoking. Anticipate an increase in appetite, and try not to increase fatty or sugary foods as snacks. Try sugar-free gum and fruit instead.
Be aware of situations in which you are most likely to want to smoke. In particular, drinking alcohol is often associated with failing in an attempt to stop smoking. You should consider not drinking much alcohol in the first few weeks after stopping smoking. Try changing your routine for the first few weeks. For example, don’t go to the pub for a while if that is a tempting place to smoke and drink alcohol. Also, if drinking tea and coffee are difficult times, try drinking mainly fruit juice and plenty of water instead.
Be positive. You can tell people that you don't smoke. You will smell better. After a few weeks you should feel better, taste your food more, and cough less. You will have more money. Perhaps put away the money you would have spent on cigarettes for treats. Mark off each successful day on a calendar. Look at it when you feel tempted to smoke, and tell yourself that you don't want to start all over again.
Don't despair if you fail. Examine the reasons why you felt it was more difficult at that particular time. It will make you stronger next time. On average, people who eventually stop smoking have made 3 or 4 previous attempts.
It can be very helpful to use medication to support your attempt. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) can help if withdrawal symptoms are troublesome. We have a stop smoking advisor at the health centre who can see you to discuss and arrange prescription of NRT. (A pharmacist, GP or practice nurse can also advise about NRT.) Using medication with counselling roughly doubles your chance of stopping smoking if you really want to stop. Other types of oral medication may be available on supervised prescription from your GP.