stoptoberlogo_15What is Stoptober?

Stoptober is an England wide campaign calling on all smokers to quit smoking, starting on 1 October and lasting for 28 days. The campaign is being supported all over the country by local NHS Stop Smoking Services, Local Authorities, pharmacies, retailers and large employers.

Research has found that if you can stop smoking for 28 days, you’re five times more likely to quit for good.

Making the first step isn’t easy, but knowing that you are not alone – that thousands of others have pledged to quit too – can be a huge boost to willpower. There are also lots resources available to help you along your quit journey;
• Sign up to a text and email service which provides motivational messages offering daily support and encouragement.
• Register for the app which is active for 28 days giving helpful hints and tips for a successful quit attempt.
• Join the Stoptober Facebook page where you can share your experience with others.
• Get a free stop smoking pack containing a number of proven quitting support tools and other support information.

What gets you hooked?

The thing that makes smoking so addictive is nicotine. Nicotine is a chemical occurs naturally in the tobacco plant. When you inhale the smoke form a cigarette, it is transferred to your blood and travels to your brain in seconds. Once in the brain, nicotine causes the release of chemicals which give you a short period of pleasure and relaxation.

If you smoke regularly, your brain will come to expect nicotine. It will develop new receptors that thrive on nicotine, so when you try and quit, and these receptors are not getting the nicotine they are used to, you experience a craving. Withdrawal symptoms such as irritability and restlessness can overwhelm your willpower, leading to failed attempts to quit. That is why the right support is so important.

There are many different strategies available to help you quit and the right one will vary from person to person. Speak to your GP or Stop Smoking specialist to help identify the right one for you, and remember the support available through Stoptober. These things can help you to quit successfully and live a healthier lifestyle.

Stoptober 2014 saw more than a quarter of a million smokers pledge to try and quit smoking.

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The Healing Timeline

It really is never too late to stop, the health benefits of quitting smoking start sooner than you think, with longer term benefits if you manage to break the habit long term. Here is a realistic look at how quickly things start to change once you have taken your last puff.

• Twenty minutes after quitting, your blood pressure decreases.
• After eight hours the amount of carbon monoxide in your blood drops back to normal, while oxygen increases to normal.
• After forty-eight hours your nerve endings start to regenerate, and you can smell and taste things better.
• One to Nine Months – Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decrease.
• After One Year the added risk of heart disease declines to half that of a smoker.
• After Five Years your stroke risk may be reduced to that of someone that never smoked.
• After Ten Years your risk of all smoking related cancers, such as lung, mouth and throat decreases by up to 50 percent.
• After Fifteen Years your risk of heart disease and smoking related death is now similar to that of someone who never smoked.