It’s never too late to quit smoking – if you want to live extra years with a more healthy life. So that’d be fewer coughs and colds, not getting breathless when exerting yourself, and avoiding having a stroke or heart attack that you might have had otherwise.
There’s lots you can do yourself. After you’ve got into the right mindset discuss with your GP, or practice nurse or local pharmacist what treatment and help they’d recommend. You can buy over the counter lots of nicotine aids to relieve and/or prevent cravings and nicotine withdrawal symptoms associated with your dependence on tobacco. These might be different strength lozenges, an inhalator, different flavour chewing gum or lozenges, skin patches or a film that dissolves on the roof of your mouth.
Electronic cigarettes or e-cigs are not a magic cure but many people find that they help to cut down their nicotine intake. There is a wide range available with various brands, flavours and nicotine dosages, and with less harmful content than in tobacco packed cigarettes. But it’s still early days to be sure of the risks and benefits.
Other drugs can be prescribed by your doctor or pharmacist (eg trade names champix or zyban) if they are accredited stop smoking providers or experienced in aiding smoking cessation as agreed with the local healthcare system.
Q1.Can you tell me where I can get help to stop smoking? I’ve tried so hard myself and quit several times- but keep starting again.
A.The Stoke-on-Trent Stop Smoking Service offers free friendly expert advice, support and encouragement to help smokers to quit for good. At a wide range of locations across the City you can get weekly support from a trained advisor together with stop smoking medicines which are available for the cost of a prescription. Even if you’re using your own e-cig to quit smoking you can still get support from the service to increase your chances of quitting.
If you need motivation your stop smoking advisor can measure the levels of carbon monoxide (CO) in your body using a monitor. This shows how your CO level drops to the same level as a non-smoker's, just 24 hours after your last cigarette. You are four times more likely to quit smoking with the support of your local stop smoking service than if you choose to go it alone!
For more information on help to quit smoking phone 0800 085 0928 or text ‘stokequit’ to 60777. If you live outside the City search online (eg www.smokefree.nhs.uk) for what local services there are near you.
Q2. I’ve tried lots of types of nicotine aids and medicines – and none of these has worked. Might acupuncture be the answer?
- Acupuncture can help smokers to stop. There’s not much research evidence that it works, but is worth trying. You need to trust the person providing the acupuncture- that they can assess your condition, explain the options and help you decide on the type of acupuncture you need.