Today, March 9th 2016, is No Smoking Day and what better time to try and quit for good? If you’re trying to cut down or have decided that 2016 is your year for giving up, here are 10 good reasons to spur you on!
Smoking is one of the main risk factors for heart disease, the UK’s biggest killer. Cigarettes contain hundreds of harmful chemicals and smoking contributes to high blood pressure and an increased risk of atherosclerosis, which occurs when fatty deposits gather in the artery walls. These collections slow blood flow and increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Reduced risk of respiratory diseases
Tobacco has a negative impact on all your major organs, but the lungs bear the brunt of it. Smoking increases your risk of asthma, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Decreased cancer risk
Smoking is the most common cause of preventable cancer in the UK. It is a significant risk factor for many types of cancer, including lung, pancreatic, breast, liver, oral and oesophageal cancer. Cancer kills thousands of people every year in the UK. By giving up smoking, you could vastly reduce your risk of developing this deadly disease.
Poor oral health
People who smoke have an elevated risk of gum disease and dental decay and smoking can also cause your teeth to look brown and unhealthy and give you bad breath. Smoking increases your risk of gum disease because it slows blood flow to your gums. It can also slow down the healing process after dental treatment.
Smoking is an expensive habit, especially if you smoke heavily. Quitting could save you a significant amount of money. If you smoke 20 cigarettes a day, within a year of stopping you will have saved around £3,000. You could use this money to pay for a family holiday or put it towards a new car or some home improvements. Giving up smoking will also save you money on life insurance and reduce your risk of developing illnesses that could cause you to need time off work.
Your social life
Are you sick of being stuck outside on a night out when everybody else is inside having fun and staying warm? Giving up smoking will make you more sociable and ensure you can join in with everyone else. It will also save you shivering out in the cold in the winter. Research carried out by dating sites also suggests that smoking is one of the biggest turn-offs in a potential partner, so giving up may increase your chances of finding ‘the one’.
If you often find that you get out of breath running for a bus or climbing the stairs, smoking is probably a contributing factor. Giving up helps to boost lung capacity and you’ll notice a difference within just a few weeks of quitting. After you’ve given up, you’ll be able to breathe more easily and will feel fitter in no time.
Your life expectancy
Smoking is the most significant cause of premature death in this country. Smoking lowers life expectancy, but you can boost this figure quickly once you stop smoking. Within ten years of quitting, your chances of dying early will be similar to those of a non-smoker.
Other peoples’ health
When you smoke, you don’t just cause harm to your own health. Passive smoking poses dangers to those around you, especially children and pets. Children who live with smokers are more likely to develop respiratory illnesses such as asthma and suffer from coughs and colds.
Smoking is known to cause premature ageing of the skin and it also causes your teeth and nails to look yellow. If you smoke, you’re more likely to develop lines and wrinkles prematurely and you may look significantly older than you are. Smoking affects blood flow, which prevents key nutrients from reaching the surface of your skin, making it look dull and dry.
If you’re hoping to give up smoking in 2016, take these considerations into account. Write your own list of why you want to give up and carry it around with you, so that you can read it if you feel the need to have a cigarette. Giving up isn’t easy, but it has so many benefits for you and the people around you. Quitting can be difficult, so use the help and advice available to you. See your doctor, dentist or pharmacist to find out about local support groups and therapies, such as nicotine replacement treatment, which may help to make the process easier. Try and encourage friends and family to give up too – studies show that people who give up as part of a group are more likely to succeed than those who try and go it alone.