Most smokers want to stop and it's the single most important thing a smoker can do to live longer and feel better – it's one of the common reasons for having a stroke. Quitting smoking will hugely reduce your risk of having another stroke. It doesn't matter how old you are or how long you have been smoking. This also includes ‘paan' (chewing tobacco).
It's never too late to give up and your risk of stroke will begin to fall as soon as you quit.
Giving up smoking is not easy and many people have to make several attempts before they succeed in giving up for good. Starting to smoke again isn't a failure but not trying to quit again is! So keep trying.
Ten million people in Britain in the last 15 years have stopped smoking. That's 1,000 people every day.
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Today it could be you. We're not pretending it's easy but here are some helpful hints:
- Name a quit day and prepare. Remember that the aim is to quit completely rather than to cut down.
- Make a list of reasons for quitting and any reasons for continuing. Make sure you really want to quit this time.
Work out what you will do in different situations:
- What will you do when the cravings come? e.g. clean the house, phone a friend who has quit.
- Do you need to practice relaxation?
- What will you say when someone offers you a cigarette?
- Who will you talk to in any desperate moments? E.g. a friend, a telephone helpline for smoking.
- Discuss with you GP or pharmacist the possibility of using nicotine replacement therapy to ease withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine replacement therapy comes as patches, chewing gum or a spray.
- The night before you quit get rid of all smoking materials, including ashtrays, cigarettes and lighters.
- On the quit day think positive. Remember what you are going to do if it gets tough and stick with it. At the end of the day reward yourself e.g. a long relaxing bath listening to your favourite music. Why not put your money in a money box as a reminder of how much money you are saving.
- Later days – repeat the above points. Reward yourself, don't panic about the odd lapse and:
Consider yourself a non-smoker
- Don't worry about putting on weight – many people don't when they stop smoking. If they gain weight the average is only 4lbs. Try not to eat more when you stop – have low calorie snacks handy for when you feel like nibbling – carrot sticks, celery, an apple etc. You can lose any weight you might gain after you've kicked the habit
- You can get help from Smoking Concerns (0141 201 9825) for advice about quitting and local support services.
Ask your practice nurse, pharmacist or GP if there is a local support group or other help available e.g. local pharmacists who offer support and NRT.
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