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  • Writer's pictureAlexander James

What Techniques Are Proven To Help People Stop Smoking?

National No Smoking Day is approaching on 13 March this year, with the aim to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking and to help people quit. Unfortunately, smoking cigarettes is highly addictive, and stopping is not usually an easy and straightforward process. 

The dangers of cigarette smoking have been widely known since the 1950s. It is estimated that over 70% of British men and 40% of British women smoked in 1962. By the early 1990s, public information campaigns had caused smoking rates to fall to about 30%, and in 2010 it had fallen further to 21%.

The most recent figures from the smoking charity Ash show that about 12.8% of the UK population currently smokes, which amounts to one in eight people. There are regional variations, with smoking being more common in Scotland and the north of England. Men and younger people are slightly more likely to smoke on average. 

According to Ash, smoking is the biggest preventable cause of death in the UK, and about half of all life-long smokers will die an average of ten years earlier than non-smokers. Most people are aware that smoking significantly increases the chances of developing lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and coronary heart disease.

The charity also reports that almost half of all smokers want to quit. However, this can be very difficult to achieve through willpower alone, because the nicotine in cigarettes is highly addictive, and stopping suddenly can lead to cravings. Many smokers make several attempts at quitting before they are successful.

So, what is the best way to quit smoking? It’s generally agreed that some sort of support is necessary for most long-term smokers to give up the habit for good. There are licensed medical products to help dependent smokers gradually break the habit, such as nicotine tablets and nicotine replacement patches.

Some smokers successfully transition to e-cigarettes, also known as vapes, which are considered to be less harmful than regular tobacco cigarettes. However, the long-term effects of vaping are not yet clear, and these products still contain many chemicals that may be potentially harmful to health.

Cigarette smoking is not just a physical addiction either, and medical products do not mitigate the psychological element of the habit. Many smokers have a mentally ingrained emotional response to the process of taking out a cigarette, as they may associate it with relaxation, stress relief, a break from work, or a sociable event to be shared with others. 

This mental habit can be particularly hard to break, and may subconsciously nudge people who want to quit back into smoking, even if their nicotine dependency has reduced. Some people find that therapy or counselling can help them to change these ingrained patterns of behaviour.

During a therapy session, a person who wishes to stop smoking may be encouraged to identify their smoking triggers and learn how to avoid them. This can be difficult to do without outside help, because we do not always have an objective insight into our own patterns of behaviour.

It can also be helpful to keep the reasons you want to quit at the top of your mind, to act as motivation and help to bolster your resilience. There are so many benefits to stopping smoking, such as saving money and boosting your health, protecting family or friends from second-hand smoke, increasing life expectancy and overall wellbeing and enjoyment of life.

Sometimes a long-term smoker may be less determined to give up because they assume that they have already irretrievably damaged their health. However, a recent study reported in The Guardian found that quitting smoking has significant health benefits regardless of age. 

The study was carried out by researchers from the National Cancer Center near Seoul, who analysed medical data from almost three million Koreans from 2002 onwards. 

Dr Jin-Kyoung Oh, who led the study, said: “Regardless of age, quitting smoking has been shown to reduce the risk of developing cancer, especially lung cancer, with early cessation before middle age leading to significant reductions.” 

“Dr Oh told the Guardian: “Quitting smoking, no matter your age, can have significant health benefits. Individuals who quit smoking after middle age had a 40% lower risk of developing lung cancer compared to those who continued smoking. Don’t think it’s too late. We encourage you to consider starting your journey to quit smoking.”

Stopping smoking brings so many other benefits besides reducing the risk of serious disease. It can improve your sense of taste and smell, stop your skin from looking prematurely aged, and help you to get fitter by improving your circulation and breathing. 

If you are interested in finding out more about quitting smoking and Harley Street hypnotherapy, please get in touch today

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