Smoking is directly responsible for over 100,000 deaths in the UK every year. Cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance, as well as more than 4,000 different chemicals, many of which are toxic. Over 60 of them can cause cancer, which may affect the mouth, lungs, stomach, liver or pancreas. Long-term smoking has also been known to lead to high blood pressure and kidney failure.
If you fail to quit smoking you run the risk of developing sexual disorders, which can bring on a great deal of stress and anxiety. In fact, men in their 30s and 40s who smoke have a 50% chance of suffering from erectile dysfunction. Smoking damages the vessels in the penis to the point at which blood flow is significantly restricted. If enough blood can't pump to and from the penis when sexually stimulated, an erection will not occur.
In rare instances, people can give up on the spot, although the majority of smokers stand a more realistic chance of quitting after several attempts. This can take days, months or even years, providing you no longer succumb to cravings of nicotine. The more help and support you have available, the easier it is to quit smoking.
There is no set way to give up for good. The success of each quit smoking method depends entirely on the person, whether it's will power alone, pills, patches or therapy. The first step to take is to consult your doctor who can offer suggestions on what treatment may work best for you. HealthExpress offers a free online consultation for those who want to quit smoking, which can help you to find the best method for you.
The most common methods of quit smoking treatments range from nicotine replacement therapy (pills, patches, gum, inhalers and sprays), to counselling and prescription medication such as Champix and Zyban. Your doctor can refer you for counselling or write a prescription for medication. Nicotine replacement therapy treatment can be purchased over the counter.
In a recent UK study (undertaken in June 2010), seven methods of treatment were tested for success rates amongst a group of participants for over six months. Results showed Champix combined with behavioural support to be most effective, way ahead of nicotine replacement therapy and support. Nicotine therapy replacement alone proved to be less successful, as did the four kinds of individual behavioural support: online, telephone, one-to-one and group therapy sessions.
Of the two available prescription medications, Champix has shown to be a more effective quit smoking treatment offering a 50% success rate. A course of tablets are to be taken continuously for a 12-week period. Some users may need to take the treatment for a further 12 weeks to ensure withdrawal symptoms and nicotine cravings have completely disappeared. Those who take a further 12 weeks of treatment have a 70% chance of quitting for good.
Your health can benefit in a number of ways in the absence of cigarettes. Smokers who quit can expect to feel an increase in energy levels, less stress and anxiety, younger looking skin, cleaner teeth and better sex through increased sensitivity. Most important of all, you can expect to live a longer, healthier life if you make the decision to quit smoking.
Smoking has been known to increase appetite and encourage weight gain. This may prove troublesome for people who are trying to quit smoking and have difficulty maintaining a healthy weight for their height. Prescription weight loss treatment can be used in combination with Champix to help deter nicotine cravings and prevent weight gain. Click here for more details.
A significant number of quitters last only 12 months before smoking again. To avoid a relapse you may wish to change your lifestyle habits so you are no longer surrounded by people who smoke, or in environments that invite the opportunity to light up again. Another popular quit smoking method is to call on close friends and family for emotional support or find camaraderie within support groups.