Have you taken up the Stoptober challenge? Comedians Al Murray, Shappi Khorsandi, Bill Bailey and Rhod Gilbert are all encouraging people to take up the challenge to stop smoking for 28 days.
Around 23,000 people in the West Midlands signed up to Stoptober last year. To mark the return of the nation’s biggest mass quit smoking attempt, Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists Faces of Disco will be making an appearance at the Stoptober roadshow at Victoria Square, Birmingham on 23 September from 11am – 5pm. As well as being able to sign up to Stoptober, quitters will receive information, expert advice and support from local stop smoking services present at the roadshow.
Giving up smoking can initially be difficult but the benefits of not smoking are huge as Sarah Stables, Stop Smoking Services co-ordinator at Solihull Stop Smoking Service, explains: “Stopping smoking can not only add years to your life, it can also improve your chances of living a disease-free and mobile life. It is never too late to benefit from quitting.
“The skin of a non-smoker gets more nutrients and without these nutrients skin can start looking sallow. Non-smokers will find it easier to get pregnant and have a reduced chance of having a miscarriage. Being a non-smoker also improves the chances of giving birth to a healthy baby.
“Within two to 12 weeks of stopping smoking your circulation will improve and as a result, you will be able to walk and run much easier. Giving up smoking can boost your immune system.
“Making small changes to your lifestyle can also make a big difference in helping you quit. Talk to your friends and family for support. The more support and encouragement you can get the better.
“It might be helpful to avoid situations where you usually smoke. Don’t give in to the temptation to have just one cigarette. Try to distract yourself by doing something else instead.
“Free ‘Quit Kits’ can be picked up at local pharmacies. The kits will include practical tools and advice to help you quit. You can get nicotine replacement therapy for free or on prescription from your local NHS Stop Smoking Service or GP. Using nicotine patches will help reduce everyday cravings and you can also use nasal spray, gum, lozenges, inhalator or mouth spray for sudden cravings.”
Sarah adds: “Smoking can damage your heart and blood circulation. It can cause diseases such as cervical and lung cancer. If you do smoke, you are more likely to have a stroke than someone who doesn’t smoke. Smokers also have an increased chance of getting stomach cancer as well as ulcers.
“Chewing smokeless tobacco such as paan or gutkha is quite popular amongst British /south Asian communities. All forms of tobacco can damage your health and using smokeless tobacco raises the risk of mouth cancer. Smoking bidi and shisha can increase your risk of cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease.”
If you took up the Stoptober challenge last year, why not share your tips on how to get through the 28 days? You can share your Stoptober experience by joining the conversation on Twitter by following @stoptober and using the hashtag #stoptober. You can also join the Stoptober Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/stoptober.