Ready, steady… STOP!
October is approaching, and for smokers, that means one thing: Stoptober is back! Celebrating its fifth birthday this year, this public health initiative has been hugely successful at getting smokers to quit during October – and beyond. By downloading the Stoptober app you can access a personal support system that tracks your progress – including how much money you’ve saved – with buttons to tap that help tackle cravings and boost your resolve. If you still need convincing, here are 28 reasons to give Stoptober a try – one for each day of October!
1. You’ll won’t be doing it alone. Thousands of people use Stoptober as a way of quitting smoking. Why not join in on 1st October for 28 days and make this our biggest year yet!
2. You’ll increase the odds of quitting for good. Studies show that if you can go smoke-free for 28 days you are FIVE times more likely to make that permanent.
3. You’ll get lots of support along the way. Download the free Stoptober Smokefree app, or sign up for text message support by texting TIPS to 63818.
4. Your body will thank you from day one. As soon as you stop smoking, carbon monoxide starts being removed from the body and your lungs begin to work better.
5. You will save thousands of ££££! A 20-a-day habit costs around £3,000 a year. If you quit during Stoptober, what would you spend that money on instead?
6. You will live well for longer. Staying smoke-free for 10 years will reduce your risk of lung cancer to half that of a smoker and your risk of heart attack will be the same as someone who has never smoked.
7. Your breath won’t smell anymore. Smoking is one of the main causes of bad breath – and only quitting will make that problem go away.
8. You’ll get your smile back. Visit a hygienist to remove those nicotine stains for good.
9. You could become a culinary connoisseur. Smoking masks your sense of taste and smell – think of all the lovely meals you can enjoy once you’re smoke-free!
10. You’ll reduce your risk of cancer. Smoking contributes to cancer of the lips, tongue, throat, voice box and oesophagus. A dentist will check all of these during your regular check-up.
11. You’ll MASSIVELY reduce your risk of oropharyngeal cancer – which affects the part of the throat just behind the nose and, in 93% of cases, is caused by smoking.
12. You’ll protect your loved ones. More than 80% of second-hand smoke is invisible and odourless, so no matter how careful you think you’re being, your family is still exposed to harmful poisons – putting them at risk of meningitis, cancer, bronchitis and pneumonia.
13. You can take pills to help you. Use stop-smoking medicines to help with nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as cravings, headaches, irritability and trouble sleeping.
14. You can get support from your dentist. The dentist is a great place to get experienced help with quitting. You can also visit your local NHS stop smoking service or pharmacy team.
15. You CAN prevent setbacks. Even just one puff of a cigarette will throw you off course. Make a plan so that if you’re tempted you know what to do.
16. You’ll greatly reduce your risk of head and neck cancer. Once you’ve been smoke-free for 20 years, your risk of these cancers is reduced to that of a non-smoker.
17. Your gums will improve. Smoking limits oxygen in the bloodstream, so infected gums don’t heal. Gum disease can progress more quickly in smokers than in non-smokers.
18. You’ll notice a difference in just 2 days. Your sense of taste and smell will improve and those stale odours on your breath will disappear. Keep up the good work!
19. You’ll be doing it for the kids. Nearly three-quarters of children worry that their mum or dad will die because they smoke. Plus, children of smokers are three times more likely to smoke themselves when they grow up.
20. You’ll achieve more with your time. Do something active when you have a craving – whether it’s hoovering or finding a new hobby, you’ll be amazed at what you can do during your former fag break.
21. You’ll learn to love yourself. If you’re feeling the symptoms of withdrawal, just remind yourself why you’re quitting in the first place. You can get through this!
22. You’ll discover a stop-smoking community. If you’ve accepted the Stoptober challenge you are doing amazingly well so far! Tell us how you’re getting on and what health benefits you’ve noticed, via our Twitter and Facebook pages!
23. You’ll be improving your health with each passing day. For every day you go without a cigarette, your risk of developing cancer, stroke and heart attack decreases. Remember, every day is a victory. Keep telling yourself, “I won’t have a cigarette today.”
24. You won’t have so much trouble with the dentist. Smokers take longer to recover from oral surgery such tooth extractions, and are at a higher risk of infection if cigarette toxins reach an open wound.
25. You’ll protect your family from the get-go. The risks of smoking, or breathing second-hand smoke, during pregnancy are serious, from premature delivery to increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth or sudden infant death. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you and your partner can do to help your baby develop healthily during pregnancy and beyond.
26. You can seriously celebrate! Congratulations if you’ve made it through Stoptober – by now your withdrawals are decreasing, your energy is increasing, and you can treat yourself with the money you have saved after a month of being smoke-free!
27. You can breathe easy. Although Stoptober lasts just 28 days, did you know that once you have been smoke-free for 3–9 months, lung function is increased by up to 10%?
28. You can do it – so do more! Keep going into November and beyond! Help is here for you – call the NHS Smokefree helpline on 0300 123 1044 and talk to a trained, expert adviser. Lines are open Monday – Friday 9am to 8pm and Saturday to Sunday 11am to 5pm.