Smokers urged to become ‘quitters’

Mary Youlden's picture
Authored by Mary Youlden
Posted Thursday, February 26, 2015 - 7:52am

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is encouraging smokers in Exeter to visit their local stop smoking services ahead of this year’s No Smoking Day on 11 March. 

The charity’s latest figures show that around 23% of adults in Exeter smoke – the national average is 18%. Studies have found that smokers are four times more likely to succeed in quitting with help from NHS stop smoking services than if they go it alone.

Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the BHF, said: “Smoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and a variety of cancers. The good news is that stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do for your heart health and the risk to your overall health decreases significantly soon after you stop.

“We’re encouraging smokers to visit their GP, pharmacist or local stop smoking advisor to receive resources, information, and advice on quitting smoking. Getting prepared for your quit attempt is the first step on the journey towards a smoke-free life.”  

“Join the nearly one million smokers who will make an attempt this No Smoking Day, and make 11 March the day you start to stop.”

While the damage smoking does to physical health is well-known, there is little known about the impact of smoking on those closest to smokers. A new survey for No Smoking Day was commissioned to shine a light on the devastating impact that smoking has on people’s relationships, in addition to the well-known damage it does to people’s health.  

The survey found that nearly two-thirds (66%) of smokers in the UK have argued with a loved one about their habit. Smokers are most likely with their loved ones about the risks to their health (50%) and the financial cost (45%), followed by the smell (32%).

It’s no surprise that smoking can put a strain on a relationship. A smoker with a 20-a-day habit will spend an average of £255 a month on cigarettes.*

Smokers should also be aware that their habit could negatively impact the health of their loved ones. 

Dr Mike Knapton commented: “Passive smoke is a cause of short and long-term illness in others and is particularly harmful to children – especially in enclosed spaces. It can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, and other health problems such as asthma and meningitis.”

“Nearly 70 per cent of the smoke that causes damage is invisible, and opening a window does not protect others from the harmful effects of passive smoke.  We believe that the single most effective way of reducing loved one’s exposure to passive smoke is for people to quit.”

The BHF offers these top five tips to help you quit smoking: 

• Make a date to give up - and stick to it! This year’s No Smoking Day is Wednesday 11 March.
• Make a plan. Think about what could help you stop smoking, such as using a nicotine-replacement product, and have it ready before the date you plan to stop.
• Get support and let your family and friends know that you're quitting. Some people find that talking to friends and relatives who have stopped can be helpful. You can also talk to local smoking cessation team.
• Keep busy to help take your mind off cigarettes. Try to change your routine, and avoid the shop where you normally buy cigarettes.
• Treat yourself. If you can, use the money you're saving by not smoking to buy yourself something special.

To receive information and support on stopping smoking visit nosmokingday.org.uk and join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #NoSmokingDay.