Sarah Brown, Registered Nurse in our Health at Hand team

How to quit smoking


15 August 2019

Mother and daughters dancing at home

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Ever feel that you are being constantly being pestered by family and friends to give up smoking? You most likely know the health risks and may have tried several times already to give up. However, be reassured, that it's never too late to stop as studies show that people who quit after their mid-thirties recover an average of six hours of life for every day of smoking they avoid.

Why should I quit?

According to Sarah Brown, a registered nurse in AXA Health's Health at Hand team, smoking not only increases your risk of lung cancer, but could mean you are twice as likely to have a heart attack as non-smokers. Smoking can also contribute to fertility problems, gum disease and COPD.

Is it too late to quit?

The answer is a resounding 'no' - it's never too late to quit. Tobacco cessation saves lives and has the potential to reverse some, though not all, of the damage done by tobacco smoke to the lungs. According to the World Health Association's 2019 report, Don't let tobacco take your breath away, "quitting as soon as possible is therefore essential to prevent the onset of chronic lung disease, which is potentially irreversible once it has developed".

Professor Robert West, Professor of Health Psychology and Director of Tobacco Studies at University College London, says stopping smoking can even be beneficial to those already suffering from smoking-related diseases: "Even if smokers have a smoking-related disease, progression of the disease is slowed or reversed and quality of life is improved after quitting."

Tips to help you stop smoking

If the time is right for you to quit smoking, there are a few simple measures that can really help get you started and keep you on track:

  • First and foremost set a stop date in the future and stick to it.

  • Rally support from your family and friends who may want to stop with you.

  • Visit your doctor or local stop smoking clinic. They will be able to provide advice regarding the many quitting aids available to help you such as gum, tablets or inhalators.

  • Lastly and perhaps most importantly, don't stop giving up. If you fail the first time, try again. Keep trying. It is never too late to save your life.

Further resources

Find your nearest NHS Stop Smoking Service from the NHS Smokefree website, or call the Smokefree National Helpline on 0300 123 1044 to speak to a trained adviser.

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