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Time To Quit!

Time To Quit!

This year No Smoking Day, which was founded (rather appropriately) on Ash Wednesday 1984, falls on 11th March. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in adults around the world, and No Smoking Day is just part of a campaign to raise awareness of the health risks associated with the habit and to help smokers to quit. Smoking increases the risk of developing more than 50 serious conditions, including cancer and heart disease.

The good news is that, according to Cancer Research UK, 1.5 billion fewer cigarettes have been smoked each year in England in the past nine years. The Office of National Statistics reports that all age groups in the UK are smoking less, but that the largest decrease is among 18- to 24-year-olds. This is largely due to government initiatives to raise awareness of the harmful effects of smoking, new laws on how tobacco products can be advertised and sold, and a ban on smoking in pubs, restaurants and other public spaces.. So, here are some strategies to help you quit the evil weed and become a virtuous and healthy non-smoker: -

Physical activity can give you the distraction you need when you’re trying to give up smoking, so exercise away your urge to smoke. Aerobic exercise has been shown to reduce the craving for a cigarette and this effect can last for up to an hour afterwards by improving your mood, helping you deal with stress and making you feel more energetic. It can also limit the tendency to put on weight after you’ve finally ditched the habit by decreasing your appetite.

By joining the gym and making exercise part of your life, you must have made the decision to invest in your health and wellbeing and this takes effort and dedication. Similarly, if you have decided to give up smoking, whether you call it willpower, determination or just plain doggedness, you must believe that you can give up, that cigarette cravings will not get the better of you, and that you have it in you to stop this habit that’s doing you and your loved ones so much harm.

A Powerful Personal Reason To Quit
You may find that you’re getting breathless when you run and that smoking’s ruining your efforts to get fit. You may be trying for a family and smoking is adversely affecting your fertility. You may have met someone special, who objects to the smell of cigarettes on your clothes or breath. You may be concerned about the effect of your smoking on your children’s health or worried about your own health and life expectancy. All these are powerful reasons to quit. Find a reason that means a lot to you and bear this in mind whenever the temptation to light up strikes.

Alternative Ways To Unwind
Smokers often claim that a cigarette helps them to relax. Try to find different and more positive ways to unwind – listening to music, enjoying a massage, going for a relaxing swim or trying yoga, meditation or tai chi. Or take up a hobby that gets you out into the fresh air and active, whether that's gardening, walking, running, cycling or playing a sport. When the craving hits, stop whatever you are doing and do something else or take slow, deep breaths. Keep your mouth occupied by chewing sugar-free gum. Cravings are usually worse in the first three days after quitting and may take up to two weeks to diminish. Just keep that goal in mind, taking each day as it comes and ticking off each successful no smoking day as a success.

A Healthy Diet
The temptation to eat more when you’re giving up smoking may be great, as things will start to taste so much better and your appetite may increase. This should be temporary and you certainly should not be using smoking as a slimming aid. Just try and concentrate on eating healthily, choosing good proteins, whole grains and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Planning special meals and savouring every mouthful will reignite your pleasure in eating well and distract you from those horrible cravings.

Get Help
Enlist the help of friends and family in kicking the habit. Maybe persuade a fellow smoker to go to the gym with you and offer each other mutual support and encouragement to get fitter and healthier and to stop smoking as part of this. The NHS offers lots of helpful suggestions on the Quit Smoking section of their One You website too.

Reward Yourself
Smoking is not only a terribly unhealthy habit; it’s also a very expensive one. Use the money you save to fund your gym membership or buy yourself little rewards for each smoking-free day, whether it’s a nice cup of coffee, a bunch of grapes or a visit to the cinema. Or save it all up and plan a lovely weekend away or an exotic holiday. Life can really be much sweeter and more enjoyable if you can persevere, get past the cravings and stub out those horrible fags once and for all!

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