New Year Smoking Cessation
It’s New Year’s resolution time and the perfect time of the year to break your habit.
There are so many risks associated with smoking. It’s the prime cause of lung cancer but is also a known risk factor in several other cancers. Tobacco smoke contains around 7,000 chemicals
and these are released into your body every time you take a puff. Many of these are poisonous
and over 60 are known to be cancer causing.
Smoking increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Plain and simple: cigarettes
kill. And while you might like smoking, after you quit you’ll see that you like breathing better and tasting your food more.
Quitting smoking isn’t easy. It takes willpower and dedication. But it can be done and there’s
plenty of help available. Firstly, don’t give up, giving up. Once you’ve decided to quit, try to do
everything possible to avoid any slips but if you have a slip, don’t be hard on yourself or let go
completely. You can get yourself back on track.
Identify your triggers, for example driving, finishing dinner, talking on the phone, and work on
making it inconvenient to smoke at those times. Expect to feel hungry, angry, a bit down and
problems concentrating. These are common nicotine withdrawal symptoms. They will pass and
you can control them by using one of the nicotine products available in the form of gum,
lozenges and mouth sprays. These reduce your addiction by weaning you off nicotine with a
steady, lower dose of it and there’s solid that using these works much better than willpower
There are medications available from your GP to help you quit too. Zyban is an antidepressant
type drug which helps reduce cravings to nicotine. It is slightly better than nicotine patches or
gum to help you stop. The gold standard of treatment at the moment is Champix. It works by
blocking receptors for nicotine so you don’t get any ‘hit’ from the cigarettes. It has a massive
44% success rate. If you have tried to quit previously, you will know that this is off the charts.
There had been some worry that it caused depression and generally low mood for some people. A recent study, the EAGLES trial, found it was safe even in patients already depressed so we
are very comfortable prescribing it now. Nausea is the main side effect that patients report
If you want to try an electronic cigarette that is absolutely fine. We know less about them than
other nicotine products but they give a nicotine hit without the many noxious chemicals found in cigarettes and a fraction of the risk. They contain no tar or actual smoke Public Health England endorsed vaping last year, making the claim that is was 95pc safer than smoking cigarettes.
When the cravings strike, remember that every day you avoid smoking you are gaining 5-6
hours of healthy life expectancy. Another piece of advice is, while you’re quitting, join a gym or
start exercising – it’ll counteract any extra stuff you’re eating, and you’ll be a happy non-smoker.