Global action day could be your time to quit

Dr Mike KnaptonOur associate medical director, Dr Mike Knapton, blogs about why today is a good day to quit smoking

May 31, 2012

 Nicotine patch

More than 750,000 Brits tried to stub out their tobacco habit on No Smoking Day

If you’re a smoker and have been looking for inspiration to quit, then why not use today, World No Tobacco Day, to help you ditch the cigarettes for good.

The dangers of smoking are well documented and two thirds of current smokers tell us they’d really like to stop but the addictive nature of tobacco means quitting is still a tough challenge.

What’s great about days like today, is that if you smoke, you can take heart from knowing thousands of other people just like you are all trying to quit together.

We know more than 750,000 Brits tried to stub out their tobacco habit on No Smoking Day – our national quit smoking day - on March 14 this year, and many of them will have managed to stop for good.

Quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do for your heart. After quitting for just a year, your risk of a heart attack halves, while after 15 years your risk falls to similar levels as someone who’s never smoked.

And the benefits start within minutes. Just 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your blood pressure and pulse return to normal, while after 24 hours the carbon monoxide is eliminated from your body and your lungs start to clear out the tar. After 48 hours, your senses of taste and smell will be greatly improved.

Man stretching 

Let friends and family know you're quitting so they can help

What’s more, quitting is good for your bank balance with the average 20-a-day smoker saving nearly £200 a month or nearly £2,500 a year from quitting – that’s a new kitchen, a car or a great holiday!

Of course the long term goal is to stop people starting smoking in the first place, which is why we support calls for cigarettes and tobacco to be sold in plain packaging that doesn’t have any glitzy branding or colours.

But right now, if you smoke and want to stop, read my top quit tips below to get you started.

Top Quit Tips

Set a date to stop - and stick to it!

Pick a day that will be relatively stress-free. World No Tobacco Day is a great day to quit, or plan your quit.

Write down all the reasons you want to stop smoking

Keep your list somewhere handy to use as a reminder if you are tempted to have a cigarette.

Keep a diary for a day or two

Record all the times and places you smoke, with a note of how much you needed each cigarette. This will help you plan for tricky moments.

Get help

Let friends and family know you're quitting so they can help. Or visit your GP, practice nurse or pharmacist to find out more information on quitting, or visit our website for more top quit tips.

Quit together

Find others who would like to give up smoking and agree to support each other. You can find your own quit buddies through our Stop Smoking Forum.

Break the links that create the habit

Most smokers have times and places when they always have a cigarette, like after a meal or when you are out with friends. Try to avoid these situations at first, or do something different - you could go for a short walk after a meal instead.

Reward yourself!

Save the money that you would have spent on cigarettes for a treat such as a new outfit, going out for a meal or taking a holiday.