Healthy lives for young people
Wellbeing

Quit smoking

There’s no good way to spin it, there isn’t a single health benefit to smoking.

It’s easy to tell yourself that it doesn’t matter when you’re young and that you’ll quit soon, but consider this:

  • Studies have shown that early signs of heart disease and stroke can be found in teenagers who smoke
  • Someone who starts smoking at 15 is three times more likely to die from cancer than someone who starts smoking in their mid-20s. Read more about the dangers of teen smoking.
  • Half of all adult smokers will die early of smoking related illness such as heart disease or lung cancer.

Here are five more reasons to quit:

  1. You’ll breathe easier and look better. Smoking reduces your lung capacity so by quitting you’ll feel healthier and get less out of breath. You’ll also look better. The chemicals in cigarettes restrict blood flow to the skin which means that by the time smokers reach their mid 20s, they’re likely to have wrinkles.
  2. You’ll save yourself a fortune. If you smoke 10 a day, you’ll save £112 a week, £1,340 in a year and £13,396 over 10 years! Use this tool to work out how much money you’d save by quitting smoking.
  3. Quitting is good for the planet. Believe it or not, deforestation due to tobacco production accounts for nearly 5% of overall deforestation in the developing world
  4. Most people don’t like kissing smokers. By not smoking you will become instantly more attractive
  5. It’s going out of fashion. The percentage of young smokers is declining each year. 8% of 15 year olds in England are regular smokers compared with 25% in 1982

Seven steps to survive quitting:

Heard enough? Ok, so here are seven top tips to help you kick the habit:

  1. Find a quit buddy: You’ll probably find that one of your friends wants to quit too. Make a deal with them to quit together. The support will really help
  2. Be prepared for put-downs: smokers often don’t like it when fellow-smokers decide to quit. Be ready with your defence. You could try telling them how much it’ll save you a month or year (and what you’re saving up for) or tell them your partner hates kissing you after you’ve smoked.
  3. Accept willpower may not be enough: Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT for short) is available on prescription from the NHS and includes patches, sprays and gum. Whatever your age, don’t be afraid to ask your GP for help stopping smoking. They won’t be shocked that you’re a smoker and will be there to help.
  4. Get ready for a tough few days: Most people find that the first few days after quitting are the hardest. But hang in there. Most of your withdrawal symptoms should subside after the first four weeks. Nicotine gum and patches (NRT) are the best way to cope with cravings. Read more about all the different types here.
  5. Manage your appetite: Smoking is an appetite suppressant and lots of people find that when they quit, their hunger levels go up. Get ready with some low-calorie snacks, such as apple chips, carrot sticks, mints, popcorn or chewing gum, to get you through the cravings. Read more about how you can quit smoking without putting on weight.
  6. Ask your family for support: If your family doesn’t know you smoke, they might freak out at first, but if you tell them you’re quitting they’ll do all they can to help.
  7. Keep away from temptation: Try to stay away from things like alcohol, coffee, sugar and sweets while you quit. Studies have shown that these foods (especially alcohol) can stimulate cigarette cravings. And if you’re drinking, your willpower is likely to weaken! Here’s some advice on how to cut down on your drinking.
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