Smoking Cessation Time Line

I was surfing the web recently and came across the image below from the BeTobaccoFree.Gov website that shows how much time it takes to get healthier if you give up smoking and the improvement in your health over the following years.

Quit smoking2

What I found interesting was the immediate and mid-term improvements.  For example :-

20 Minutes

Your heart rate and blood pressure start to return to normal. You will feel more sensations in your hands and your legs. Your body will slowly start to clean itself from the nicotine, which can make you crave for another cigarette, but try and be persistent.

12 Hours

You inhale carbon monoxide when tobacco is burning and that bonds with your blood cells.  This in turn prevents oxygen bonding to your blood cells and can cause dangerous cardiovascular diseases.

You can cut that level of carbon monoxide in your blood back to normal by not smoking for 12 hours. Your oxygen levels will start to return to normal.

3 Months

Your respiratory system will start to get back to normal and you will start breathing more easily again. After three months of not smoking taking larger, deeper breaths becomes easier.

Microscopic hairs, called cilia, are found along your air passages and move in a sweeping motion to keep the air passages clean. But if harmful substances, such as cigarette smoke, are inhaled, the cilia stop functioning properly, causing health problems like bronchitis.  These cilia will repair and start to function normally again.

Within 9 Months

Your cough will start to drastically reduce, although when and by how much depends on how long you’ve been smoking as the lungs slowly continue to clean themselves and get rid of toxins.  As a result, you can be more physically active and you can start to do some cardio exercises without getting short of breath.

1 Year

Your risk of coronary heart disease is cut by a massive 50% !

As you can see from the infographic, some of the benefits of stopping smoking can be felt very quickly while other can take much longer – so the sooner you give up smoking the sooner you will be on the road to a healthier life.  What’s stopping you making the initial step on that path?

e-Cigs on the NHS

Could E-cigs soon be available on the NHS?

33-1213042277oc9iWith the ever-growing popularity of vaping in recent years, and the various studies that show that they can be an effective aid when an individual is trying to quit smoking, there have been calls for them to be able to be prescribed on the NHS alongside other aids such as nicotine patches and gum.

In Aug 2015 the Public Health Executive said that it was “committed to ensuring that smokers have a range of evidence-based, effective tools to help them to quit.” and that they were looking forward to the time when there would be “a choice of medicinally regulated products that can be made available to smokers by the NHS on prescription.”

The first steps towards this aim have been taken this month with e-cigs having been granted a licence by Britain’s medicines regulator for the first time when The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency awarded a licence to the British American Tobacco for its brand of e-Voke devices which will now allow it to be marketed as a smoking cessation aid.

However, despite this ground-breaking advancement, Dr Tim Ballard, the vice-chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, has voiced concerns and urged for caution stating “Potentially, there may be a place for the prescription of *e-Voke as part of a smoking cessation programme, but GPs would be very wary of prescribing them until there was clear evidence of their safety and of their efficacy in helping people to quit,” and calling for more research to be carried out before telling patients that the devices are available on the NHS.

He was also quoted as saying “GPs would be very wary of prescribing them until there was clear evidence of their safety and of their efficacy in helping people to quit.”

This suggests that although we have seen the first steps towards the medical regulation of e-cig devices, we may still be some way off of seeing them prescribed on the NHS to help smokers who wish to quit.

Most of the best e cig review sites will point out that if we wait 10 years for evidence based information to show what the risks of e cigarettes are many smokers will die. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over 5 million people WILL die from smoking in the USA alone!

 

  • e-Voke ; MHRA medicine licence granted to BAT. BAT also manufacture the Vype eBox and Vype eTank range of e cigarettes

Lets Stop Smoking in 2016

Many of our readers may be thinking about quitting smoking and if they already haven’t done so 2016 is the year to make a determined effort to succeed and finally stop smoking.

Ways to Stop Smoking

Stop smokingIt’s easy to say at Christmas, or at New Year that you want to give up and stop smoking but the secret is not only to mean it but to take positive action. For the lucky few this can mean going “cold turkey” and just stopping, for others it can mean cutting back so that instead of getting through a packet of cigarettes a day you make a pack last a day and a half, then two days, then two and a half days and so on until you find that you are only smoking once a day or even less frequently. If you are doing this try to avoid places where you feel you should smoke to “fit in”, be that pubs or other social settings.

Another method that some people have used to stop smoking is to use ecigs (e-cigarettes). These, as you may know, or have read elsewhere on this site, often look like cigarettes but instead of being filled with tobacco have cartridges will with liquid that sometimes contains nicotine (but can also contain flavoured nicotine-free liquids). I’m sure that you have seen the television adverts or even the e-cigs that you can buy over the counter in supermarkets, newsagents, garages or even in small shops of all types.

Safety First

If you do decide to use ecigs as a way of stopping smoking there are several things to consider. Do you want to start with one that contains nicotine (there have been reports of pets being killed when they have chewed a nicotine cartridge such as this one on the BBC or this one from Australia. These suggest that you need to keep the cartridges away from pets (and probably children as well) but any responsible smoker would do the same thing with their cigarettes and matches anyway.

Summary

There are lots of ways to stop smoking if you are determined to do so.  I’d love to hear how you are getting on and want to wish you every success in your attempts.

The Psychological Side

The Psychological Side To Quitting

Can you overcome the mental barriers to quitting?

Quitting smoking can be extremely difficult. This is in large part because of the addictive nature of nicotine. But it is also because smoking is a major psychological addiction. This means that part of the solution needs to be psychological as well. To ensure that you give yourself the best chance of success, here are our tips to use your mind to help you stop smoking.

Step 1: Do Your Research
Take some time to thoroughly research the effects of smoking on your health. Talk to your doctor, read articles, or watch some videos. This may not be pleasant to do, but it’s important to be informed about the effects your smoking has on your body. Being fully aware of these effects may make you more resolved to quit.

Next, spend some time researching the positive effects of quitting. Quitting smoking can almost immediately lower your risk for many health issues. Remember that there’s a lot of hope for improving your long-term health, and use this as motivation.

Step 2: Reflect
You should also spend some time focusing your attention inwards. Why do you want to quit smoking? Maybe you’ve noticed some negative changes in your health and want to change that. Maybe you have fitness goals that will only be possible without smoking. Maybe you want to do it for your children or other loved ones.

Think about these important reasons, and write them down. You can also write down how you expect your life to improve after quitting; what do you expect to get out of a life without cigarettes? If you feel yourself caving after you quit, reread these reasons to give you some encouragement.

Step 3: Remove Triggers
Once you’ve decided to quit, spend a bit of time thinking about what causes you to smoke. Is it stress during work or after school? Or perhaps you smoke after meals. Do you find yourself smoking around particular friends or in specific social situations? If you can, once you’ve quit, remove yourself from these triggers as much as possible.

Supportive friends will understand if you need to change up your routine a little bit. This is also a good time to remove all smoking-related memorabilia from your home. Clean out packs of cigarettes, ash trays, lighters, and matches from your house, workplace, and car. You’re transforming your home and life from that of a smoker to that of a non-smoker.

Step 4: Substitute Positive Activities
Think of quitting as an opportunity to add something good for you in place of smoking. This is a great time to pick up a new hobby or skill. Exercising on your own, swimming, or taking classes at a gym is a fantastic way to stay healthy and reduce stress levels.

You could also take on cooking classes or a creative hobby such as painting or crafting. All of these new activities will help you to move your life forward and give you something to do when you need to distract yourself from the craving for a cigarette.

The Effects of Smoking

Smoking has many serious effects for your health and is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the world. In the UK, over 80,000 people die from smoking-related problems every year. If you smoke or are thinking of smoking, you should take the time to consider what smoking does to your body.

Cancer
In addition to the addictive nicotine, cigarettes contain over 7,000 chemicals. So far, around 70 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer. Lung cancer is the most common kind of cancer to develop from smoking, but smoking can also lead to cancer in the mouth, throat, nose, stomach, colon, and many other parts of the body.

Respiratory System
In addition to lung cancer, smoking can cause many other problems for your respiratory system. In a very short time, smoking can lead to frequent coughing, colds, wheezing, and asthma. It can also lead to more serious conditions such as emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and chronic bronchitis. In addition, smoking greatly increases your risk for potentially fatal diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.

Heart and Circulation
The toxins entering your body from smoking damage both your heart and your blood cells. Smoking will make your blood thicker, increasing the risk of clots. It also increases your heart rate, raises your blood pressure, and shrinks your arteries. These effects greatly increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In fact, smokers are twice as likely to have a heart attack as non-smokers.

Bones
Smoking has been shown to lead to decreased bone density over time. This is a significant factor in leading to bone loss, in addition to weaker bones that are more likely to fracture and break. Women who smoke are at a much higher risk of getting osteoporosis.

Fertility
For men, smoking can lead to a lower sperm count. It can also cause damage to the blood vessels that carry blood to the penis, leading to impotence. In women, smoking has been shown to cause irregular menstrual cycles and lower fertility. On average, couples in which at least one partner smokes take significantly longer to conceive a child than couples who do not smoke.

These are only some of the harmful effects of smoking. Other side effects include gum disease, premature aging, wrinkles, increased risk of ulcers, weakened immune system, higher risk of diabetes, and cataracts.

How to Quit Smoking

Advice to help you break the habit and stay on track

You already know that smoking has many negative effects on your health. Quitting, however, can be extremely difficult. Whether you’ve started smoking recently or have been smoking for decades, cigarettes have likely become both a physical addition and a psychological, social habit.

This makes quitting difficult on multiple levels. With good planning and perseverance, however, quitting is possible. The right quitting plan is different for everyone, and your doctor is the best person to advise you on the best individualized treatment. These tips are meant as a general guide to help you quit successfully.

Step 1: Make a Plan
Planning ahead can help to make your efforts to quit more effective. First, pick date as your “quit date.” Ideally, choose something 1-3 weeks in the future: enough to give you time to prepare without losing your motivation. In the intervening time, try to taper down your cigarette use.

This will make the symptoms of withdrawal easier to deal with. You should also use this time to assess the nature of your addiction. Think about what factors are linked to your smoking: is it stress related? Do you smoke in certain places or around certain people? Do you smoke after meals? This awareness will help you avoid temptations when possible and steel yourself to deal with them when they occur.

Step 2: Find a Support System
Having a support system can be very helpful when going through the process of quitting. Tell your family and close friends that you’ll be quitting. They will probably be happy for you and more than willing to be supportive throughout the process. Informing others that you’re quitting will also help to hold you accountable.

If you have other friends who smoke, ask if any of them are interested in quitting together. Quitting with a partner can be a great way to have mutual support. The two of you can even find an alternate activity, such as going for walks, to do together at a time when you would usually be smoking.

Step 3: Improve Your Environment
Removing the temptation to smoke from your nearby environment can go a long way to prevent you from reaching for a cigarette when you feel a craving.

Clean out cigarettes and ashtrays from your home, car, and office. Try giving the carpets, upholstery, and drapes a thorough cleaning as well. Getting rid of the smell of smoke can help you to feel like you’re making a fresh start.

Step 4: Cope with Cravings and Withdrawal
One of the most difficult things about quitting is dealing with cravings and nicotine withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms usually peak a couple of days after you stop smoking.

They differ for everyone, but they will decrease over time. In addition to cravings, withdrawal can cause fatigue, irritability, hunger, and coughing. Make sure to stay hydrated, avoid caffeine in the evening, and stock up on healthy snacks.

Plan out a list of alternate activities for when cravings or stress strike. Walks outside, yoga, working out at the gym, baths, and reading can all help to take your mind off of cravings and relax your body. You may also want to use some form of medication, such as a nicotine patch or nicotine gum. Your doctor can advise you on the best medicine for you and prescribe you something to help you deal with withdrawal while you quit.

How I Quit Cigs – Joes Story

As stop smoking site I am frequently asked what the best e-cig is and why. I try to answer this question for everyone but recently thought that it would be a lot easier to create a blog that would be publicly available for anyone that is interested.

Obviously the advice that I offer in this blog is accurate based on my opinions at the time of writing and I will try to update it if our opinions change.

The short answer is that I recommend the V2 ecigs but allow me to give you a little bit more information.

V2 Cigs are quality and they have proper tested eliquids so you know what goes into your eliquids – most companies do not give lab reports! V2 also manufacture and design etc. where just about everyone else buys from China and sticks a brand name on the ecig – I believe there are 2 companies in UK who use their own facilities – V2 is one of them.

Beyond simply knowing which ecig to choose I would also like to give you some other food for thought.

My experience of switching to ecigs suggests you need to ensure you are fully covered (i.e. no chance of making an excuse to go out in the middle of the night to buy fags because your battery is broken/uncharged hiding itself from you etc.) Have a quality product and ensure you can’t make any excuses to nip out and buy some cigs – You need to have 3 batteries minimum for example – if you work from a pc a lot then also get a power cig, this connects to your pc usb port for all day vaping. If you are out and away from a plug – e.g. travel in car a lot make sure you have a PCC (personal charging case – this charges your ecig without the need for a power supply) so you can charge batteries wherever you are.

Make sure you get a sampler pack of cartridges so you can find out exactly what taste and strength suits you –normally 18 or 24 mg if you smoke regular cigs. Too weak and you will be down the garage buying cigs. Final touch – I like to vary my vaping a bit to keep me from getting bored and so I use cartridges that are prefilled mostly – but now and again I use eliquid in a self-filling mini-tank. V2 call theirs the ex-blank – here once you know which taste and strength of cartridge you like you can then buy separately the eliquid equivalent and fill your mini-tank – this method give a similar experience to the prefilled carts but just a little bit more oomph!

Good luck – I have been on ecigs now for over 18months and my lungs have cleared – no coughing in the am, massively fitter, and saving money too!

Benefits of E-Cigarettes

Electronic Cigarettes (or e-cigarettes) are becoming increasingly popular. If you’re a smoker, you may be considering switching to them from traditional cigarettes. In fact, e-cigarettes come with a number of benefits that you may want to know about.

What are e-cigarettes?
E-cigarettes look very similar to real cigarettes, made up of a cylindrical tube with a glowing end. But instead of producing smoke, they produce vapour that looks and feels like smoke without all of its detrimental effects. E-cigarettes contain a battery and a heating element that heats up liquid nicotine and any flavourings. The user inhales and exhales vapour produced from the liquid nicotine. e cigarettes come in different sizes and formats including vape pens, shisha pens and vape and box mods.

E-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to normal cigarettes
E-cigarettes are still a new technology, so no long term studies can confirm whether they are better for smokers than traditional cigarettes. What we can say for certain is that they use vapour instead of smoke, which avoids many negative effects.

In particular, the vapour from e-cigarettes is not harmful to bystanders in the way that second-hand smoke is. We believe that e-cigarettes will also reduce the risk for a host of other health problems that come from smoking. The lack of smoke also means that e-cigarettes do not have the unpleasant and clinging smell associated with cigarettes

E-cigarettes make it easier to quit
If you’re looking to quit smoking altogether but have found it difficult to do so, e-cigarettes can be a great halfway step. E-cigarettes can help to stabilize levels of nicotine in the blood and over time reduce the desire to smoke.

E-cigarettes can save you money
Any smoker knows that the cost of buying cigarettes is high. E-cigarettes are not subject to the same taxation as traditional cigarettes, making them much cheaper for consumers.

The cost of buying a starter kit may be comparatively expensive, but over time maintaining e-cigarettes is very cheap, about half the cost of buying packs of cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are allowed in most establishments
E-cigarettes are not regulated by the government the same way that traditional cigarettes are. This means that unlike cigarettes, e-cigarettes are allowed within most restaurants and other buildings. They do not produce smoke or odour, so they will not bother the people around you. Using e-cigarettes means that you can smoke without the inconvenience of leaving the building or separating yourself from your friends and family.