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If you are a smoker, the very best thing you can do for your health is quit.
How do you feel about your smoking & are you ready to stop? Have you ever tried to quit?
Whilst not all lung cancers are smoking related, 87% occur in smokers or ex-smokers. Smokers have a 10 times greater risk, and heavy smokers (>40 cigarettes per day) have a 60 fold increased risk of lung cancer than non-smokers. Overall, all causes of death are higher in smokers.
Common barriers to quitting smoking and suggestions for overcoming them:
It’s reassuring to know that the worst are over within 2-3 days, most having passed by 10 – 14 days. Nicotine replacement therapy or other pharmacological treatment prescribed by your doctor can help overcome these symptoms.
Peer/social pressure to smoke
Avoid smoking environments. Politely ask your smoking friends to refrain from smoking in your presence. Rehearse saying no to cigarettes.
The weight gained following smoking cessation is due to a return to a normal metabolic rate. The average weight gain is 2-3kg. Dietary and lifestyle modification can assist with this.
It’s too late now
It’s NEVER too late. Damage to the lung occurs whilst smoking, but the lung and arteries have an enormous capacity to repair within several months of cessation.
Fear of failure or past failed attempts
Each attempt at cessation should be viewed as a learning experience, increasing the chance of success the next time.
If past attempts have failed, you are certainly not alone. Willpower alone leads to only a 2% chance of successfully quitting for 6 months or more.
Here are some of the health benefits of stopping smoking:
- Reduced risk of chest infections. Cilia, the small sweeping hairs that line our airways and help trap and remove foreign matter, are damaged and rendered inactive by smoking, but these recover rapidly when you stop.
- 1 year after stopping, the risk of coronary heart disease is halved
- 10 years after stopping, the risk of lung cancer is half that of a smoker
- At 10 – 15 years, the risk of coronary heart disease approaches that of a non-smoker
- Quitting slows the development of emphysema and chronic airway disease.
- Improved appearance + fitness
- Increased sense of taste + smell
However, there are ways to increase the chance of success:
- Nicotine replacement therapy together with behavioural support (increases success by 5-12%)
- Pharmacological therapy together with behavioural support (increases the chance of success by 9%)
- Advice from your doctor or counselling with an addiction professional.
- Telephone counselling (quit line 13 78 48)
- Written self-help material
Your doctor at Airlie Women’s Clinic understands how difficult it can be to quit smoking. If you are contemplating quitting, or have had past failed attempts, speak to your doctor who can help you in your quest to become a non smoker.