DURING October, the nation’s eight million smokers will once again be encouraged to take part in the mass participation quit attempt Stoptober.
Stoptober is a 28-day stop-smoking challenge which leads smokers through a detailed step-by-step programme, with free help and support, to help them quit the habit.
It’s been proven that if smokers can stop smoking for 28 days, they are five times more likely to stay smokefree and last year more than 160,000 smokers took part in the month-long campaign.
This year it is hoped that more smokers will join the challenge and make use of the free help on offer – which ranges from information packs containing help to stop smoking to mobile apps and a text service offering daily tips and support.
Comedian Paddy McGuinness will encourage smokers to “no lighty” as part of this year’s quit smoking campaign and fellow funnymen Al Murray, Simon Brodkin — better known as his alter-ego Lee Nelson — and Andi Osho will also urge smokers to stub it out in October.
And of that wasn’t enough encouragement to try to stub out the habit, research shows that you can gain up to 7 days life for every 28 you remain smokefree.
Along with the health benefits, stopping will save the average smoker over £150 a month and almost £2,000 a year.
So there really is little to lose and everything to gain from stopping smoking.
And you don’t have to wait too long to start to see the benefits
The quitting timeline
• After 20 minutes your blood pressure and pulse return to normal.
• After 24 hours your lungs start to clear.
• After two days your body is nicotine-free and sense of taste and smell improves.
• After three days you can breathe more easily and your energy increases.
• After two to 12 weeks, your circulation improves.
• After three to nine months coughs, wheezing and breathing improves.
• After one year your heart attack risk is half that of a smoker.
• After 10 years your lung cancer risk is half that of a smoker.
So if that hasn’t tempted you to kick the habit, here are a few more benefits that could help you to stop smoking:
Non-smokers find it easier to get pregnant. Quitting smoking improves the lining of the womb and becoming a non-smoker increases the possibility of conceiving through IVF as well as reducing the likelihood of having a miscarriage. Most importantly, it improves the chances of giving birth to a healthy baby.
Younger looking skin
Stopping smoking has been found to slow facial ageing and delay the appearance of wrinkles. The skin of a non-smoker gets more nutrients, including oxygen, and can reverse the sallow, lined complexion that smokers often have.
Giving up tobacco stops teeth becoming stained, and you’ll have fresher breath. Ex-smokers are less likely than smokers to get gum disease and lose their teeth prematurely.
People breathe more easily and cough less when they give up smoking because their lung capacity improves by up to 10% within nine months. In your 20s and 30s, the effect of smoking on your lung capacity may not be noticeable until you go for a run, but lung capacity naturally diminishes with age. In later years, having maximum lung capacity can mean the difference between having an active, healthy old age and wheezing when going for a walk or climbing the stairs.
Half of all long-term smokers die early from smoking-related diseases, including heart disease, lung cancer and chronic bronchitis. Men who quit smoking by 30 add 10 years to their life. People who kick the habit at 60 add three years to their life. In other words, it’s never too late to benefit from stopping. Quitting not only adds years to your life, but it also greatly improves the chance of a disease-free, mobile, happier old age.
Scientific studies show that people’s stress levels are lower after they stop smoking. Nicotine addiction makes smokers stressed from the ‘withdrawal’ between cigarettes. The pleasant feeling of satisfying that craving is only temporary and is not a real cure for stress. Also, the improved levels of oxygen in the body means that ex-smokers can concentrate better and have increased mental wellbeing.
Improved smell and taste
Kicking the smoking habit gives your senses of smell and taste a boost. The body is recovering from being dulled by the hundreds of toxic chemicals found in cigarettes.
Within 2 to 12 weeks of stopping smoking, your circulation improves. This makes all physical activity, including walking and running, much easier.
Quitting also boosts your immune system, making it easier to fight off colds and flu. The increase in oxygen in the body makes ex-smokers less tired and less likely to have headaches.
For more information about help to stop smoking and Stoptober go to