Stop smoking for 28 days and you are five times more likely to quit for good.
At Dears Pharmacy we are committed to support you on your journey to stop smoking. Our pharmacists and their teams are here to help.
Getting ready to stop
Preparation is key to successfully stopping smoking. Your plan will be a mix of things that work for you, including:
- thinking about why you smoke
- focusing on how to manage situations in which you used to smoke
- thinking about your reasons for stopping
- setting a quit date
- support from friends and family
Benefits of stopping
Stopping smoking increases your chances of living a longer and healthier life. You’ll feel the benefits from the day you quit. Not only will you to start to save money but you’ll experience a reduced risk of:
- heart disease, stroke, vascular disease and respiratory disease
- a whole range of cancers
Your life expectancy will be greater, and you’ll notice an improvement in the symptoms of smoking related diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Stopping smoking can help you live life to the full. You’ll feel fitter and more able to take part in physical activity. This in turn can benefit your mental health and wellbeing.
Smoking is expensive and prices will continue to rise. If you’re smoking 20 cigarettes a day, you’re likely to be spending about £3,500 a year, based on the average cost of £9.60 for a pack of 20 cigarettes.
By stopping smoking, you could spend the money you save on:
- a reward such as a trip to the cinema or a meal out
- a family holiday (equivalent to the cost of smoking 20 cigarettes a day for a year)
Count the cost of your smoking
Benefits to your health
Although smoking seriously harms your health, once you stop, your body starts to repair itself.
After 20 minutes
Pulse rate returns to normal.
After 8 hours
Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by more than half and oxygen levels return to normal.
After 48 hours
Carbon monoxide will be eliminated from the body. Lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris. There is no nicotine in the body. Ability to taste and smell is improved.
After 72 hours
Breathing becomes easier. Bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy levels increase.
After 2-12 weeks
Your circulation improves.
After 3-9 months
Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as lung function increases by up to 10%.
After 1 year
Risk of heart disease is about half compared with a person who is still smoking.
After 10 years
Risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker
After 15 years
Risk of heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked.
Preventing harm to others
Stopping smoking can also help the health of your friends and family.
Stopping smoking means that you’re no longer harming others through second-hand smoke (passive smoking). Most second-hand smoke comes from the tip of a burning cigarette. This makes it almost impossible to direct smoke away from those around you. If you only smoke in one area of your home the harmful chemicals will spread rapidly from room to room and can linger for up to 5 hours. If you smoke in a confined space such as a car, you’re exposing your fellow passengers to even more harmful chemicals.
Smoking and young people
Stopping smoking means it’s less likely that your children will become smokers. Children living with parents or others who smoke are much more likely to start smoking themselves.
Smoking and pregnancy
Smoking harms your unborn baby. Stopping smoking will reduce the risk of harm during pregnancy.
Risks to other people
People exposed to second-hand smoke face the same dangers as smokers themselves. They too inhale the same poisonous gases and thousands of toxic chemicals found in tobacco smoke. Their risk of developing smoking-related diseases will also increase.
Pregnant women exposed to second-hand smoke will pass on harmful chemicals to their babies. Second-hand smoke is also particularly harmful for children, and others with long-term heart and/or breathing conditions.
Some short-term effects from exposure to second-hand smoke include:
- eye and nasal irritation
- sore throat
Long-term effects from exposure to second-hand smoke include increased risk of:
- coronary heart disease (risk increased by 25-30%)
- lung cancer (risk increased by 20-30%) and other cancers
- stroke (risk increased by 20-30%)
- increased risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other breathing problems
Breathing in second-hand smoke makes the blood stickier, meaning there is an increased risk of blood clots forming, even with brief exposure. A blood clot can block an artery and cause:
- heart attacks
- complete heart failure
In pregnant women exposed to second-hand smoke, there is an increased risk of complications during the pregnancy and after the birth. The most likely risk is that your baby could weigh less than expected.
Risks to children
Children breathe faster than adults, which means they take in more of the harmful chemicals in second-hand smoke. They’re even more sensitive to smoke than adults because their bodies are young and still developing.
Research shows that babies and children exposed to a smoky atmosphere are likely to have increased risk of:
- breathing problems, illnesses and infections
- reduced lung function
- wheezing illnesses and asthma
- sudden and unexpected death in infancy (SUDI)
- certain ear, nose and throat problems, in particular middle ear disease
There is also an increased risk of developing bacterial meningitis, bronchitis, pneumonia and acute respiratory illnesses.
Options to help you stop smoking:
As opposed to willpower alone, you’re more likely to give up and we are here to help with a range of treatments that include:
- Champix (varenicline)
- Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)
- E-cigarettes (Not available on NHS)
All NHS stop smoking medication and support in Scotland is free.
Champix (varenicline) is a prescription-only, non-nicotine medication, which has been developed specially to help smokers stop. It should be accompanied by intensive stop smoking support to give you the best chance of quitting. It works by reducing your cravings for a cigarette by removing the reward effect you feel when you smoke. You generally start taking Champix 1 to 2 weeks before you stop smoking.
Champix also helps to relieve other withdrawal symptoms which can be experienced when stopping smoking. It cannot be used with nicotine replacement therapy or Zyban (bupropion), and cannot be used by under-18s, or by pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Champix may also affect your ability to drive or use machinery. You should not drive or operate complex machinery, or take part in potentially hazardous activities until you know how Champix affects you.
Using Champix along with support from friends and family will give you the best chance for success.
Following a consultation with our pharmacists we can help provide you with this treatment as part of our stop smoking service,
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is a way of continuing to give your body nicotine without the harmful effects of smoking or chewing tobacco. You can take it in various ways – usually one of the following (often with a patch):
- nasal spray
- mouth spray
- oral strips/film
NRT works by gradually reducing your body’s addiction by using a low dose of clean and therapeutic nicotine. This doesn’t contain the other harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke such as carbon monoxide and tar. NRT should reduce cravings and other withdrawal symptoms.
NRT should be used for an 8-12 week period but it’s best to check your individual product for guidance. Some long-term NRT users experience mild withdrawal symptoms when they stop using it. NRT is safe to use, even long-term. It’s a much better option than returning to smoking as it only contains nicotine.
Medication and support will increase your chances of stopping and staying stopped.
The best way to use NRT is starting from your ‘quit date’. If you haven’t been able to, or don’t want to, stop smoking at once on a target quit date, you can use NRT for several weeks alongside ‘cutting down to quit’.
An e-cigarette is a device that allows you to inhale nicotine through vapour rather than smoke. E-cigarettes come in a variety of models and work by heating a solution that typically contains nicotine, propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerine, and flavourings. E-cigarette vapour doesn’t contain tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful elements in tobacco smoke. Using an e-cigarette isn’t completely risk-free, but it carries a small fraction of the risk of smoking and can help you quit.
E-cigarettes are particularly effective when combined with support from local stop smoking services – people who choose this route have some of the highest quitting success rates. E-cigarettes aren’t currently available on NHS prescription, but we do sell a range called Strive in a range of strengths and flavours.
Call in to your local Dears Pharmacy for support and advice to help you on your journey to stop smoking in our locations in Edinburgh & Fife.