- An introduction to quitting smoking
- Audio Interviews and Stories about Quitting Smoking
- Some of the experts you can hear in this section
- Useful contacts and links
An introduction to quitting smoking
- In the UK about 10 million people smoke
- There are 12 million ex-smokers in the UK
- Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals and around 50 of these cause cancer
- In the UK 114,000 people a year die from smoking-related diseases
- About half of all smokers die from smoking-related diseases
- Your life expectancy is about ten years less than a non-smoker
- In Barking and Dagenham one in five deaths are related to smoking.
- In Barking and Dagenham one person dies every day from smoking-related diseases
- If you quit smoking 20 a day you could save £40 in a week - £20,000 in ten years
- You are four times as likely to quit successfully if you use the NHS Stop Smoking service
- Smoking can cause cancer of the lung, throat, oesophagus, bladder, kidney and stomach
- Smoking increases your risk of angina and heart attack
- Smoking can cause gradual blindness (macular degeneration)
How quitting will improve your life
- Quitting reduces your risk of dying from a smoking-related illness
- The health benefits begin within twenty minutes of quitting
- You’ll reduce your risk of gangrene or amputation caused by circulation problems
- You’ll improve your fertility levels and your chance of a healthy pregnancy and baby
- Quitting also means your children are less likely to smoke
- You’ll improve your breathing and general fitness
- You’ll enjoy the taste of food and drink
- A heavy smoker will save hundreds of pounds a month and thousands of pounds a year
- Your home and clothes will smell nicer – and so will you!
- You may feel more confident and positive and your skin will improve
- After one year your risk of heart attack will have fallen to about half that of a smoker
What you’ll find out here
Stopping smoking is not easy. But it can be done. There are more than 12 million ex-smokers in the UK. In these pages you’ll hear both national and local experts from Barking and Dagenham guiding you through the tough process of quitting. You’ll discover how effective the local Stop Smoking service is and how to access it. You’ll find out about all the patches, gums, pills, sprays and other treatments that are available to help you. You’ll hear some tips on preparing for your quit attempt and tactics to resist temptation. You’ll find out just how much and how quickly your health, mood and appearance will change once you stop smoking. There are some amazing statistics on how your body gets back to normal and an encouraging chapter on how much money you can save by quitting. Our experts will tell you that it’s never too late to stop and that, even if you’ve tried dozens of times before, the next attempt could be the one that works.
Click on the chapters below to listen to the interviews
Chapter 1 - How smoking works
With Prof John Britton, Keith Boyle
What made you start smoking? How come some people managed to stop and you kept going? This chapter will explain how cigarettes work on the brain to get you hooked and why it’s hard to stop.
Real Stories 1 - Why I smoke
Some (reformed) heavy smokers explain what made them start smoking and how and why they kept on doing it.
Chapter 2 - Why is smoking bad for you?
With Prof Robert West, Dr. David Halpin, Prof John Britton
Smoking increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. It’s the main cause of COPD and lung cancer. Smoking can affect the way you look and the way you feel and cut your lifespan by ten years. It also makes your children more likely to smoke. There are many incentives to quit.
Chapter 3 - What’s in a cigarette?
With Naime Kale
Nothing very good! Cigarette smoke contains more than four thousand chemicals including some you’d find in lighter fluid, pesticides and rat poison. 50 of them are known to cause cancer. Think about what you’re putting into your body.
Chapter 4 - Why’s it so hard to quit?
With Prof John Britton, Dr. Clare Gerada, Prof Robert West, Dr. David Halpin
Smoking tobacco is more addictive than heroin and cocaine. It’s easy to become addicted but very difficult to beat the addiction. It can take some people just a few cigarettes to become hooked. It can take some people 20 or 30 attempts kick the habit.
Chapter 5 - The benefits of stopping smoking
With Claire Ward, Prof John Britton
You will reduce your risk of developing cancer, heart disease and COPD. You will reduce your risk of gangrene or amputation caused by circulatory problems. You will improve your chance of a healthy pregnancy and baby. Your skin, teeth, breathing and general fitness will improve. You will enjoy the taste of food more and you’ll save money. The benefits kick in almost immediately.
Real Stories 2 - How my life has changed
Some encouraging tales from people who’ve quit successfully.
Chapter 6 - Reasons to quit
With Prof John Britton Anne Lenaghan, Claire Ward, Naime Kale
It could be the money or a health scare or nagging from the children. It could be the smell, the way smoking is making you look or wanting to be around for your grandchildren. Something will trigger your successful attempt.
Real Stories 3 - Why I decided to quit
Stories from successful quitters about what made them take the plunge.
Chapter 7 - What makes you quit successfully?
With Prof Robert West
Some people can stop at the first attempt. Most people fail many times before they succeed. The more times you try the more likely you are to succeed. And the more help you get the more likely you are to succeed.
Chapter 8 - Preparing to quit
With Prof Robert West, Claire Ward, Prof John Britton
Plan ahead, pick a quit date and take it one day at a time. The key message here is to seek help from the professionals. Using the NHS Stop Smoking service will dramatically improve your chances of stopping smoking – especially if you use Nicotine Replacement Therapy as well.
Chapter 9 - What services are available to help?
With Prof Robert West and Claire Ward
You’re far more likely to succeed if you use NHS Barking and Dagenham’s quit smoking service. People who try to give up smoking with willpower alone have a success rate of 5%. It’s 65% for people who use NRT and specialist support. You can find out about it from your GP or online at www.quitlocalbarkinganddagenham.nhs.uk
Chapter 10 - Barking’s walk-in stop smoking shop
With Naime Kale
The ‘For the Health of It’ shop is the first of its kind in London. It’s located on the concourse at Barking station. You can meet Naime Kale. Half the people who visit manage to quit smoking with her help. (See the Contacts page for more details.)
Chapter 11 - What is Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)?
With Claire Ward, Prof John Britton, Prof Robert West
There is a range of different treatments available that can increase your chances of going smoke free. In fact, if you use NHS support and a stop smoking medicine to help manage your cravings you are up to four times more likely to be successful! This is how it works.
Chapter 12 - The products in detail
Do you want the patches, the gum, the lozenges, the inhalator or the nasal spray? Naime Kale explains how the various products work and what you’ll be offered if you visit the ‘For the Health of It’ shop in Barking station
Chapter 13 - Other medication to help you stop
With Prof Robert West, Claire Ward
If NRT doesn’t work, Zyban and Champix are two drugs available only on prescription. Zyban changes the way that your body responds to nicotine. Champix works by reducing your craving for a cigarette and by reducing the effects you feel if you do have a cigarette. These options are not available if you are pregnant.
Chapter 14 - Coping with withdrawal symptoms
With Prof John Britton, Claire Ward
You may feel any or all of these withdrawal symptoms: light-headedness, depressed mood, difficulty sleeping, irritability, frustration, anger, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, dizziness, craving for nicotine and increased appetite. NRT will help you cope.
Chapter 15 - Change your routine
With Prof Robert West, Claire Ward, Naime Kale, Keith Boyle
All the experts say that changing your routine is a great way to break the habit of smoking. You come to associate smoking with various places and times and situations. If you change or avoid them it helps you stop. You can hear some tips in this chapter.
Chapter 16 - The first few days
With Prof Robert West, Claire Ward
This is sometimes (but not always) the hardest period - when withdrawal symptoms will be at their strongest. Here are some tips that may help you through, along with your NRT and any counselling you may be getting. There’s no such thing as having “just one cigarette”.
Chapter 17 - When will I feel the benefits?
With Naime Kale, Claire Ward
The health benefits happen almost immediately. Within minutes your blood pressure returns to normal. Carbon Monoxide and nicotine are out of your system within two days. Your breathing and senses of taste and smell will start improving. Listen here for a “timetable” of benefits.
Chapter 18 - Keeping going
With Prof Robert West, Claire Ward
It’s a myth that smoking helps with stress. In fact smoking contributes to stress and when you quit your anxiety and stress levels go down. Don’t be fooled into reaching for a cigarette when something stressful happens. Try deep breathing instead.
Real Stories 4 - Staying Quit
Views from some smokers at various stages of the quitting process. If they can do it – you can!
Chapter 19 - Think of the money you’ll save
With Naime Kale, Prof John Britton, Claire Ward
If you smoke 20 cigarettes a day you’ll save £40 a week, £180 a month, £2,200 a year! In ten years you could save £22,000. Think what you could spend it on.
Some of the experts you can hear in this section
Prof John Britton
Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Nottingham; consultant in respiratory medicine at Nottingham City Hospital; chair of the Royal College of Physicians Tobacco Advisory Group; Director of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies
Prof Robert West
Professor of Health Psychology and Director of Tobacco Studies, University College London, head of research on smoking cessation at the Health Behaviour Research Centre, UCL
Stop smoking specialist with NHS Barking and Dagenham
Stop smoking specialist with NHS Barking and Dagenham and shop co-ordinator at the ‘For the Health of It’ shop in Barking station
Lead respiratory physiotherapist, NHS Barking and Dagenham; set up and runs the pulmonary rehabilitation programme
Dr. David Halpin
Consultant Respiratory Physician and Senior Clinical lecturer, Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital; Chairman of National Institute for Clinical Excellence COPD Guideline Committee
Smoking Cessation Advisor, County Durham PCT
Dr. Clare Gerada
London GP and national expert on substance misuse and addiction services
Useful contacts and links
- NHS Smokefree
- Quit Helpline
- Tel: 0800 00 22 00
- Quit (charity)
- NHS Free Smoking Helpline
- Tel: 0800 022 4332
- Open 7 days a week 7.00am-11.00pm
- Asian QuitLine
- Tel: 0800 00 22 88
- British Lung Foundation
- 73-75 Goswell Rd
- London EC1V 7ER
- British Lung Foundation Helpline
- Tel: 08458 50 50 20
- open Monday to Friday 10am-6pm
- Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
- 144-145 Shoreditch High Street
- London E1 6JE
- Tel: 0207 739 5902
- ‘For the Health of It’ (Quit Smoking shop)
- Offering one-to-one help and advice
- Barking Station concourse
- Open Monday to Friday 8am-8pm and Saturday 10am-1.30pm
- Breathe Easy Barking and Dagenham
- Breathe Easy Barking and Dagenham,
- Starting Point,
- 16 Pickering Road,
- IG11 8PG
- Tel: 0203 288 2175
- Meets on the last Thursday of each month 1pm-3pm at the Seabrook Community Centre, Wood Lane, Dagenham, Essex RM10 7RP
- Barking and Dagenham Stop Smoking Service
- Tel: 020 8532 6284