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Stop smoking this new year in North Yorkshire


6:06am 6th January 2011

22% of men and 21% of women in the UK smoke. An estimated 10 million adults are smokers, which is about a sixth of the population and nearly half of all regular cigarette smokers will eventually be killed by their addiction.

Over two thirds of smokers (67%) would like to give up and three quarters of smokers (75%) have tried to give up at some point, with over a quarter (26%) admitting they have attempted to give up over the last year. However, out of those who have given up, only 8% gave up for 2 years or more and 22% only gave up for one week.

A mere 3% of smokers succeed in quitting using willpower alone. 12% start smoking again because they miss something to do with their hands, 38% start again because life is too stressful/it’s not the right time and a further 12% admit they cannot cope with the cravings.

Latest research reveals that the majority of smokers want to give up, however the successful quit rate remains very low. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug and many smokers who have tried to quit have failed because they can’t cope with the cravings. Only 3% of smokers succeed in quitting using willpower alone, with many feeling unable to quit because they miss the habit of doing something with their hands.

Extra stop smoking sessions are being laid on for smokers in North Yorkshire and York looking to kick the habit for the New Year.

The North Yorkshire Stop Smoking Service offers smoking cessation programmes, run by specialist smoking advisors and has an excellent success rate of helping people to become and remain non-smokers. The Service can also give information on services that are available through trained advisors at GP practices and pharmacies.

In York, around 23% of adults are smokers and in North Yorkshire, around 18% of adults are smokers. It is thought around half of all regular cigarette smokers will eventually be killed by their addiction.

There are three ways that people can access free NHS smoking cessation services:

1.    Call the North Yorkshire Stop Smoking Service on 0300 303 1603 or visit www.northyorkshireandyork.nhs.uk and click on 'Staying Healthy'

2.    See a registered smoking cessation advisor at your GP practice

3.    Some local community pharmacists provide enhanced smoking cessation services (a list of these is available on the PCT's website)

Margaret Hewitson, from the North Yorkshire Stop Smoking Service, said:

"Fewer than 10% of people who set New Year's resolutions actually achieve them. We can help people looking to make the one New Year's resolution worth keeping this year - going smoke free. It's the best thing you can do for your long-term health.  

"From January 2011, we are arranging for more quit programmes to run in North Yorkshire and York to increase access for people looking to go smoke free in the New Year.

"In the first few weeks of stopping when withdrawal symptoms can be at their worst we offer encouragement, tips on dealing with cravings and access to stop smoking medication.

"Getting help from the North Yorkshire Stop Smoking Service can be up to four times more effective than willpower alone - so give yourself the best possible chance!"

To find out more about quitting smoking locally, visit www.northyorkshireandyork.nhs.uk and click on 'Staying Healthy'.

How does quitting smoking make life better?

Improved fertility
Non-smokers find it easier to get pregnant. Quitting smoking improves the lining of the womb and can make men's sperm more potent. Becoming a non-smoker increases the possibility of conceiving through IVF and reduces 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.

Whiter teeth
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.

Better breathing
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.

Longer life
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.

Less stress
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 senses
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.

More energy
Within 2 to 12 weeks of stopping smoking, the circulation improves. This makes all physical activity, including walking and running, much easier. Quitting boosts the 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.

Healthier loved ones
By stopping smoking you'll be protecting the health of your non-smoking friends and family.

Passive smoking increases a non-smoker's risk of lung cancer, heart disease and stroke. Second-hand smoke makes children twice at risk of chest illnesses, including pneumonia, croup (swollen airways in the lungs) and bronchitis, plus more ear infections, wheezing and asthma. They also have three times the risk of getting lung cancer in later life compared with children who live with non-smokers.


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