Help & Advice

Stop Smoking

There are around 10 million adult cigarette smokers in Great Britain. Tobacco users are more likely to develop disease and die earlier than non-tobacco users. Tobacco is the single most preventable cause of death in the world. The 2011 General Lifestyle Survey revealed that 63% of smokers want to quit. In Great Britain, the number of ex-smokers exceeds that of smokers so successful smoking cessation is quite possible.

How can I stop smoking?

You might ask, “If so many people want to stop smoking, then why don’t they?” The answer is because nicotine is highly addictive making it difficult to stop without help. Unfortunately most people are unable to quit on their first attempt. People who do succeed most often develop a detailed smoking cessation plan before attempting to quit smoking. Some helpful smoking cessation tips can be found below:

  • Set your quit date
    • Give yourself a month for necessary preparations to help you quit
  • Get support
    • Friends, family, a counsellor or help group can encourage you through the process
    • Research the many non-pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical methods available to make smoking cessation easier
  • Find other ways to manage stress as many report stress as the reason for relapse
  • Make a list of reasons why you want to quit and consult that list during more difficult moments encountered after quitting. Some of the more common reasons for quitting are listed below.
    • Health: The opportunity of a longer and better quality life
      • One year after quitting
        • The risk of heart attack decreases by half
      • 15 years post quitting
        • The risk of heart attack is virtually the same as a person who has never smoked
      • Lung function improves
        • Smoking slows movement of cilia (tiny hairs that line the lungs and clear them of mucus)
        • Some report a temporary increase in coughing after smoking which is just a sign that cilia are becoming active again and clearing the lungs of mucus that commonly contribute to respiratory infections whilst smoking
      • More stamina, improvement of taste and smells                         
    • Cost savings: Make a plan for what to do with the money you save
      • Twenty cigarettes a day is the average, which equates to over £3,000 every year.
    • Escape the stigmas associated with smoking
      • Smell
      • Appearance (teeth stains and wrinkles)
      • Limit second hand smoke to your family and friends
      • Set a good example for your children and others
  • Think of high-risk places (where you commonly crave a cigarette) to avoid lessening the urge to smoke and frequent places where smoking isn’t allowed such as shopping centres, museums, restaurants and cinemas.

What medicines can help me Stop Smoking?

Only about 5% of people are able to stop smoking without the help of a medication. More than 30% succeed with the help of a medication and the success rate is even higher when behavioural methods mentioned above are used with medication.

  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy is available in many forms and doses
    • Patches are applied to skin once daily and work by slowly releasing low levels of nicotine over 24 hours
    • Gum and Lozenges quickly release nicotine to take the edge off of a craving.
    • Inhalers and nasal sprays are other quick acting devices available
    • Electronic cigarettes as an alternative to cigarettes
    • The goal is to taper down from a higher dose to nothing within 12 weeks or less, although it could take longer
    • These can be used in various combinations based on what suits a person’s specific needs
  • Bupropion (Zyban) is a type of antidepressant that is thought to control cravings and withdrawals by increasing certain brain chemicals.
    • A prescription only medication which can be prescribed for you
    • Takes 5-7 days to become effective making it necessary to initiate therapy 1-2 weeks before your quit date
    • Oral tablet swallowed whole twice a day
    • Unlike nicotine replacement therapy, it does not contain nicotine
    • This medication can be combined with nicotine replacement therapy
    • Recommended for 12 weeks to stop smoking but can be used for an additional 6 months to reduce the risk of smoking relapse
  • Varenicline (Champix) is a nicotine receptor blocker that works to reduce the pleasurable effects of smoking, which relieves cravings and withdrawal symptoms dramatically increasing your chances of quitting successfully.
    • A prescription only medication that can prescribed for you
    • Like Zyban, Champix takes several days to become effective so this medication must also be initiated 1-2 weeks before your quit date.
    • Must be slowly titrated from a 0.5 mg oral tablet once a day up to a 1 mg tablet twice a day to minimize potential adverse effects
    • Unlike nicotine replacement therapy, it does not contain nicotine
    • This medication can also be combined with nicotine replacement therapy
    • Recommended for 12 weeks but can be used for an additional 12 weeks to prevent relapse
  • Medication therapy should be tailored to a person’s needs and lifestyle. We can advise you to help you choose the safest, most effective medications to use with your stop smoking plan.