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“Put this stick of poison in your mouth, set fire to it and breathe in the fumes.”
If someone invited you to do this, you’d think they were missing a marble or two, wouldn’t you? But suppose you did do it… wouldn’t you have to wonder if you also were missing a marble or two? Absolutely astonishing then that more than 5,000,000 adults in the UK do put a stick of poison in their mouth, do set fire to it and do breathe in the fumes as many as 40 times a day, every day. Why? Because they’re cigarette smokers.
All smokers know that they should quit smoking, almost all of them would like to quit smoking. Well, there’s no time like the present so seize the day, seize National No Smoking Day. This year it’s on Wednesday, March 9th and there’s lots of help available to anyone who is determined to give it a go and try to quit once and for all.
First though, let’s consider two key benefits of stopping smoking:
1] You’ll immediately start to have more money. A pack of 20 cigarettes a day bought every day typically costs at least £10 which adds up to £70 a week, £300 a month, £3,600 a year. Wow! Think what you could do instead with that money. If nothing else it would certainly help to pay those crippling gas, oil and electricity bills we’ve all got coming. And you might still have some left over towards a holiday.
2] You’ll soon enjoy better health. That smoker’s cough you’ve got… the one that sounds as if you’re bump-starting your lungs when you draw on the first fag of the day… that’s your body’s way of telling you ‘don’t keep doing this to me’. If you stop smoking, that cough will eventually clear up because your lungs will be able to rid themselves of the terrible toxic irritants you have so expensively sucked into them. Stopping will also dramatically cut your risk of cancer, stroke, heart attack and all sorts of other nasties. You’ll also be doing a favour to anyone you regularly subject to your smoke.
Of course, National No Smoking Day is not a 24-hour challenge that you can pat yourself on the back over if you complete it. Rather the day is your first step to quitting for good. If you can quit, this is the NHS’s timeline of health benefits you can expect:
- After 20 minutes your heart rate and blood pressure are back to near normal levels.
- After 8 hours your blood oxygen level is near normal and your level of harmful carbon monoxide is down by half.
- After 48 hours your carbon monoxide is zero and your lungs begin ridding themselves of the unwanted mucus created by smoking. Your sense of taste and smell is improving.
- After 72 hours breathing should start to feel easier as your bronchial tubes relax. You’ll have a little more energy, too.
- After 2-12 weeks blood will be pumping much more efficiently through your heart and to your muscles as your circulation continues to improve.
- After 3-9 months any breathing difficulties such as wheezing and that dreadful smoker’s cough will be much less pronounced because your lung function will have increased by a healthy margin.
- After 1 year your risk of heart attack will be only half that of a smoker.
- After 10 years your risk of lung cancer will be only half that of a smoker.
There are loads of other benefits too. You’ll be an altogether happier person once you’ve overcome the nicotine craving (it’s only temporary and you can beat it with patches if you choose). You, your clothes, your house and your car will all smell better. You’ll sleep better. You’ll have more get-up-and-go about you.
Taking that all-important first step on National No Smoking Day really is a no-brainer but it’s not necessarily easy to give up, especially if you rely on willpower alone. Help, encouragement and loads of tried and tested practical advice about ways to quit is available at https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/quit-smoking/ so put out your last cigarette now, read the advice and make National No Smoking Day 2022 one of the best days, and best decisions, of your life.