Stopping smoking is often referred to as ‘giving up’.
But this New Year, Humber and North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership wants people to focus on the gains.
By swapping cigarettes to safer forms of nicotine, such as patches, gum or a vape it says people can save hundreds of pounds, with significant improvements to physical and mental health when harmful tobacco products are removed.
Dave Jones, Tobacco Programme Manager for the Humber and North Yorkshire Integrated Care Board said:
“The thought of stopping smoking can seem overwhelming and very final. For many smokers, their days are organised around smoking habits.
“Swapping to an effective replacement means that harmful tobacco is removed, without the discomfort of nicotine withdrawal, leading to improved energy, breathing, taste and smell within days, not to mention saving lots of money.
“A great tip to keep up your motivation is to put the money that you would have spent on cigarettes in a jar or online back account ‘pot’, so you see the amount you’re saving going up week by week.”
Once people have got used to not smoking tobacco and are ready to move onto the next stage, nicotine replacement products can be gradually reduced until no longer needed at all. Studies show that once a person is nicotine free, mental health can dramatically improve, with reduced anxiety, depression, and stress.
Scott Crosby, Associate Director for the Centre for Excellence in Tobacco Control for Humber and North Yorkshire Integrated Care Board said:
“There is a misconception that smoking relieves anxiety, when in fact, it creates it. The relief that people feel when they have a cigarette is because they are giving their body the drug (nicotine) that it has been withdrawing from.
“If you are feeling worried about the thought of stopping smoking, getting support from a specialist stop smoking service can really help. This means someone is with you every step of the way, from making a plan, through to providing a prescription for nicotine replacement items and weekly check ins with an expert advisor.
“The advisor will discuss any challenges or wins you’ve experienced along your quit journey, and the best thing is that their services are free.”
David and Sarah from Hull successfully stopped smoking using their local stop smoking service, Smokefree Hull.
“The main reasons we quit smoking was because of our children smelling smoke from us, and secondly the cost of living. We found we were choosing between eating, heating and smoking.
“It’s great now we don’t smoke, we’ve got more time with the children because we’re not always popping out for a cigarette, more money to spend on them, and we can taste our food better, so we’re enjoying cooking more.”
Sophie Hall from Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale Mind said:
“People with mental ill health die on average 10 to 20 years earlier than the wider population, and smoking is the biggest cause of this life expectancy gap. Around a third of cigarettes smoked in England are smoked by people with a mental health condition and clients regularly tell us they smoke to cope when feeling unwell.
“People with mental ill health often struggle to stop smoking without support that takes their mental health into account, so it’s vital people can access help from local stop smoking services. We’d encourage anyone even considering stopping smoking to reach out for help.”
To explore a range of stop smoking and self-help health apps recommended by professionals, visit the Health App Library here https://hnyhealthapps.co.uk/en-GB/stop-smoking. Free to download and full of useful information, hints and tips.
Find details of your local stop smoking service here: https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/quit-smoking/find-your-local-stop-smoking-service/ who offer free, expert support.