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The Challenge of Giving up

15/03/21

Smoking Awareness

There are more than one billion smokers worldwide and it kills more than 8 million people a year around the world. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke (World Health Organisation).  In Scotland there are around 10,000 smoking related deaths every year and smoking is responsible for around 33,500 hospital admissions yet it is the most preventable cause of ill-health and premature death in Scotland (NHS Health Scotland).

 We all know smoking is a killer so why do so many people still choose to smoke?

 Smoking Pleasure

 After lighting up you start to feel better as the nicotine reaches the brain within about ten seconds. At first, nicotine improves mood and concentration, decreases anger and stress, relaxes muscles and reduces appetite.  Chemically, you have that dopamine rush that comes when nicotine attaches to receptors in your brain and you are back to feeling comfortable.  However, within a half hour to an hour, the process will repeat itself and it is too late as the nicotine dependency takes hold.  It is this pattern of nicotine depletion and replenishment in the bloodstream that you have learned to think of as "smoking pleasure." (VerywellMind.com)

Why is it so difficult to quit?

 Cigarettes look deceptively simple but in fact they are highly engineered products, designed to deliver a steady dose of nicotine to the smoker.  Being dependent on (addicted to) the nicotine means that you need to keep getting nicotine until you can break the cycle. Your body depends on the nicotine to feel comfortable and you will experience a variety of uncomfortable symptoms if you don’t get enough of it or often enough. When you don’t get enough nicotine, you will experience withdrawal symptoms which may include irritability, tremors, depression, insomnia, anxiety or difficulty concentrating, symptoms which can be hard to break.

 Time to Quit!

 Given the pleasure the toxins contained within cigarettes, giving up can be extremely difficult however help is available.  No matter how long you've smoked for, no matter how many cigarettes you smoke a day, your health will start to improve as soon as you quit, some health benefits  are immediate, some are longer-term, but what matters is that it's never too late.

Giving up is entirely your choice and whilst statistics can vary depending upon their source, they do demonstrate a high percentage of those who try giving up do actually succeed.  Guidance is available from the NHS Smoking Helpline 0800 84 84 84, https://smokefree.gov  or through locally through your local GP Surgery or Pharmacy. We have also provided the following links with some tips.

10 self-help tips to stop smoking

Using e-cigarettes to stop smoking

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