Now that Stoptober is well and truly underway, those of you that have taken the plunge to quit smoking might be experiencing those dreaded withdrawal symptoms that can threaten to jeopardise your journey. To help you stay focused, smoke-free and stub out the habit for good, here are 10 of the very best reasons why you should make the great choice to stop smoking this October.
1. You can look forward to a longer life
Half of all long-term smokers will die at a younger age as a result of a smoking-related disease. This is a frightening statistic, but it’s true – heart disease, lung cancer and chronic bronchitis are just three of the most common serious diseases that smokers face, but it’s never too late to quit. The younger you are when you stop smoking, the more years you’ll add on to your life on average, but even if you quit at 60 years old you can still expect to live for three years longer than if you didn’t give up smoking at all.
2. You could save hundreds of pounds within months
One of the best reasons of all to stop smoking, apart from vastly improving your health, is to improve your bank balance too. The average person saves a whopping £250 a month when they quit smoking altogether, but with the NHS smoking cost calculator you’ll be able to find out how much money you can personally save when you kick the habit. Then you can start thinking of more fun (and healthy) ways to spend it!
3. Your family and friends will benefit too
On 1st October 2015, it became illegal in the UK to smoke in a vehicle with a person under 18 present, and the smoking ban in enclosed public places has been in force since 2007. The reason for these laws is that secondhand smoke (also known as ‘passive smoking’) is one of the biggest dangers of smoking as it still contains many of the harmful chemicals that you inhale when you smoke yourself, which puts those around you at risk of cancer, bronchitis, pneumonia and meningitis. So when you give up cigarettes, it’s not just your own health that will benefit.
4. You’ll improve your fertility
If you’re thinking of starting a family, or trying for another baby, stopping smoking is one of the first steps you should take in order to conceive. Men who smoke are at risk of having less potent sperm, and female smokers can decrease the quality of their womb lining, making it tougher to get pregnant, and increase their chances of miscarriage - plus they will experience the menopause an average of two years earlier than those who are smoke free. Add to this the fact that it’s dangerous to your baby to smoke during pregnancy; why wait until you’re already pregnant to quit?
5. You’ll enjoy a better sex life in general
Even if you aren’t hoping to conceive, you’ll enjoy a much happier and more rewarding sex life overall as one of the benefits of quitting smoking. Nicotine affects the blood supply to many areas of the body, including the penis, which can cause male erectile dysfunction problems – but the good news is that if you do suffer from this, you’ll see an improvement almost right away when you quit. The ways in which smoking affects female sexual performance aren’t as well known, but research indicates that it also affects blood flow to the genitals in the same way as in men, so after giving up smoking you may find that you become aroused more easily and have better orgasms.
6. You’ll start to look better
The damage that smoking does to your body isn’t just on the inside. Over time, smoking affects your outside appearance too, particularly your skin and teeth. That’s because when you smoke your skin is starved of the oxygen and other nutrients it needs, leaving it looking grey and leading to premature signs of aging. Meanwhile, the tobacco in cigarettes stains your teeth, lips and fingers yellow. Within weeks of quitting, you’ll begin to notice the improvements – as will everyone else!
7. You’ll breathe far more easily
Get ready to wave goodbye to that smoker’s cough when you stop smoking, as you could improve your lung capacity by up to 10% in the nine months after you quit. Now you have no excuse not to take up running! Speaking of improving your breath, you’ll also smell much sweeter as a non-smoker too – plus be much less likely to get gum disease or lose your teeth prematurely.
8. You’ll have a better overall sense of wellbeing
Many people believe that smoking lowers their stress levels – but in fact the opposite is true, as the ‘stress’ that people experience is often the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal between cigarettes, which you satiate by lighting up. So when you become smoke-free, you’re likely to feel less stressed overall. Not only that, but as you’ll have a higher level of oxygen in your body when you stop smoking you will experience improved energy, concentration and mental health, which we’re sure you’ll agree is a much better feeling than smoking.
9. Your food will taste more delicious
Thanks to the toxic chemicals that cigarettes are laden with, your senses of smell and taste are distinctly dulled when you are a smoker. However, you won’t realise this until you quit and your senses begin to sharpen once again, and you’ll begin to notice all the subtle flavours and fragrances that you couldn’t while you were a smoker.
10. You’ll have support every step of the way
If you really need more reasons to start your journey towards stopping smoking in October, another great one is that when you sign up to the Stoptober campaign, you’ll benefit from knowing that thousands of people are making the journey with you – and there’s always lots of personal, one-on-one support available whenever you need it. Just 28 smoke-free days are all you need to be five times more likely to stop for good, and with help from a local Stop Smoking Service as well as stop smoking aids like nicotine gums and smoking patches from Rowlands Pharmacy, those first 28 days will be easier and more rewarding than you think. Wherever you are on your journey to quitting smoking, good luck!