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Stoptober - Are you up to the challenge?

Updated: Sep 19, 2022

If you've been looking for motivation to quit smoking, Stoptober is your moment. Stoptober is the NHS's annual campaign to help and encourage smokers to quit for good. The idea is simple: stop smoking for 28 days in October. If you can abstain for that long, giving up will be so much easier.

There are so many resources and so much buzz at this time of year, so why not take advantage of that and join thousands of other smokers who want to kick the habit.

Why should you quit?

Your individual health

Who doesn’t want to feel better! No matter how long you’ve been smoking for, quitting can help improve your health straight away. Other benefits are:

  • Your sense of taste will return and you will enjoy the taste of food more.

  • Your breathing and general fitness will improve.

  • The appearance of your skin and teeth will improve.

  • You'll be more confident in social situations because you won't smell of stale smoke.

  • Your fertility levels will improve, along with your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Your family & friends' health

Quitting will help prevent second hand smoking affecting your family and friends. Second hand/passive smoking is when people breath in other people's smoke. People who are exposed to second-hand smoke face the same dangers as smokers themselves. They inhale the same poisonous gases and thousands of toxic chemicals found in tobacco smoke. Their risk of developing smoking-related diseases will also increase. Quitting however, reduces the risk again. It also reduces chances of your children suffering from bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma attacks, meningitis and ear infections as they won't be breathing in harmful poisons.

More than 80% of second-hand smoke is invisible and odourless. No matter how careful you think you're being, you can't see the full picture.

Save money

Be amazed at how much money you could save if you quit today! How many packets do you buy a week? How much do they cost? How much is that per month? Per year?

What else could you be spending that money on?

The NHS have a great tool to help you calculate how much you could be saving by not smoking. try it out and feel the motivation to quit take over!

A pile of cigarettes with one of them standing upright.
Stoptober is the NHS's annual campaign to help and encourage smokers to quit for good.

Timeline when you quit smoking

The NHS Smokefree website has a great guide about what happens when you quit smoking. According to their timeline:

  • After 20 minutes - Your pulse rate returns to normal

  • After 8 hours - Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by more than half and oxygen levels return to normal

  • After 48 hours - Carbon monoxide will be eliminated from the body. Lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris. Ability to taste and smell is improved.

  • After 72 hours - Breathing becomes easier. Bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy levels increase.

  • After 2-12 weeks - Your circulation improves.

  • After 3 - 9 months - Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as lung function increases by up to 10%

  • After 1 year - Risk of heart disease is about half compared with a person who is still smoking.

  • After 10 years - Risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker.

  • After 15 years - Risk of heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked.

Stop smoking for 28 days and you're 5 times more likely to stop for good

Quick quit tips to help you quit smoking

If you want to stop smoking, you can make small changes to your lifestyle that may help you resist the temptation to light up.

Think positive

You might have tried to quit smoking before and not managed it, but don't let that put you off. A positive mindset is key!

Make a plan to quit smoking

Make a promise, set a date and stick to it. Sticking to the "not a drag" rule can really help.

Consider your diet

Is your after-dinner cigarette your favourite? Research suggests that some foods, including meat, make cigarettes more satisfying. Others, including cheese, fruit and vegetables, make cigarettes taste terrible. So swap your usual steak or burger for a veggie pizza instead!

Also, you could change your routine at or after mealtimes. Getting up and doing the dishes straight away or settling down in a room where you don't smoke may help, keep your mind busy!

Change your drink

Research suggest’s fizzy drinks, alcohol, cola, tea and coffee all make cigarettes taste better. So when you're out, drink more water and juice.

Get some stop smoking support

If friends or family members want to give up too, suggest to them that you give up together.There is also support available from your local stop smoking service and you can also call the NHS Smokefree Helpline.

Get moving

A review of scientific studies has proved exercise – even a 5-minute walk or stretch – cuts cravings and may help your brain produce anti-craving chemicals.

Keep your hands and mouth busy

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)can double your chances of success. As well as patches, there are tablets, lozenges, gum and a nasal spray. And if you like holding a cigarette, there are handheld products like the inhalator. There are also e-cigarettes. When you're out, try putting your drink in the hand that usually holds a cigarette, or drink from a straw to keep your mouth busy.

Make a list of reasons to quit

Keep reminding yourself why you made the decision to give up. Make a list of the reasons and read it when you need support. Head on over to the Stoptober website now for your free personal quit plan.

Our sources & for more information:



Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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