Have you wanted to give up smoking but felt you couldn't break the habit? Have you tried giving up and felt frustrated when you relapsed back in to the habit? Do you feel that you will have this habit forever? You are not alone, look no further - "Hypnosis patients twice as likely to remain smoke-free after two years". A study of 71 smokers showed that after a two-year follow up, patients that quit with hypnosis were twice as likely to remain smoke-free than those who quit on their own (Guided health imagery for smoking cessation and long-term abstinence. Wynd, CA. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 2005; 37:3, pages 245-250).
Smoking actually increases stress and anxiety, so when you light up a cigarette to help 'de-stress', you are doing the exact opposite. Smoking increases heart rate and interferes with the production of serotonin - the essential neurotransmitter needed for our mental health and well being. It is indeed no wonder that people who smoke throughout their lives are more susceptible to develop anxiety and clinical depression.
Smoking Facts & Figures
Here are some facts about what it can do to you:
- About 100,000 people die every year in the UK from smoking-related illnesses.
- Roughly half of all smokers die prematurely due to smoking-related diseases. The life expectancy of a smoker is about 10 years less than that of a non-smoker.
- Most smoking-related deaths are long and painful, with many unpleasant symptoms.
- Around 17,000 children under the age of five are admitted to hospital every year because of passive smoking-related illnesses. Smoking related conditions increases your risk of developing a wide range of health ailments and diseases including the following:
- Lung cancer - more than 8 in 10 cases of lung cancer are directly related to smoking.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - again, 8 out of 10 cases of this distressing lung disease are caused by smoking.
- Heart disease - considered the UK's biggest killer, around 1 in 6 cases is caused by smoking.
- Other cancers - including mouth, throat, nose, blood, cervix and pancreatic cancer.
- Infertility - smoking affects the fertility of men and women, making it harder to conceive.
- Gum disease - on top of staining your teeth, smoking can cause premature tooth loss due to gum disease.
The Benefits of Quitting
While all of the above information may make for a scary read, it is important to know that it is never too late to quit. The sooner you stop smoking, the faster your body will recover and your risk of developing life-threatening conditions will decrease.
- Longer life expectancy:
- More energy:
- Boosted immune system:
- More money:
- Better breathing:
- Reduced stress levels:
- Younger looking skin:
- Better sense of smell and taste:
- Protected loved ones:
If you quit smoking by the age of 30, you could increase your life expectancy by 10 years - just think what you could do with that extra decade. Even if you are in your 60s when you decide to quit, you can still add three years onto your life. Not only will you have a longer life if you stop smoking, you should also have fewer health problems, making for a happier, more independent later life.
Carbon monoxide robs your body of oxygen, and without oxygen your body can't work properly. When you quit smoking you will be lowering the carbon monoxide levels in your body allowing your lungs and muscles to work the way they should. More oxygen to the brain will also help you to feel more alert, energised and awake. You should also find you can sleep better without that nicotine in your system.
When you smoke, your immune system is lowered making you more susceptible to colds and flu. When you quit smoking your immune system gets a boost, which means you will pick up less illnesses and generally feel healthier all round.
If you have smoked 20 cigarettes a day for 10 years, you will have spent approximately £20,000 on smoking. Every time a craving hits - think about what you could do with that extra money!
Within nine months of quitting smoking, your lung capacity should increase by as much as 10% helping you to do simple things like climb stairs without gasping for breath. You will also get rid of that smoker’s cough, and any breathing difficulties or conditions you have (such as asthma) should be dramatically reduced.
Many smokers reach for a cigarette when they are feeling stressed and while that immediate hit of nicotine after withdrawal may make you feel relaxed at first, in the long term, smoking only increases stress levels. Studies have shown that ex-smokers are less stressed than they were when they were smoking.
Smoking prematurely ages the skin, making it dull, dry and prone to wrinkles. When you stop smoking, this effect is reversed as your skin receives the nutrients it needs. This means that in time, you should find your complexion brightens up and any lines you have may appear reduced.
The chemicals in cigarettes dull taste buds and affect the way you smell, making food and drink a bit of a bore. Quitting will bring these senses to life again, helping you taste and smell things at a greater intensity.
Passive smoking can be as fatal as smoking a cigarette directly, by not smoking around your friends and family you will be reducing their risk of developing smoking related illnesses.