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Health Chatter: What happens if you quit smoking today?

Updated: Sep 19, 2022

Smoking is often part of a daily routine for many workers which means it is more difficult to break the habit and quit. But recent evidence shows that if a smoker can quit for 28 days, they are five times more likely to quit for good.

Focusing on the benefits of not smoking can be a great way to motivate yourself to give up the habit, so let’s take a look at what those benefits are.

Benefits of not smoking:

  • Have more energy - within 2-12 weeks of quitting, your blood circulation will improve making physical activity easier and stopping you getting worn out so quickly.

  • Immune system boost - You’ll have better defences against colds, flu and other diseases.

  • Breathe more easily - Your lung capacity could improve up to 10% within 9 months of quitting.

  • Feel less stressed - Scientific studies demonstrate that your stress levels are reduced after you stop smoking. Although nicotine withdrawal can heighten feelings of stress initially, stick with it temporarily for long term gain. Practice stress relieving techniques during your withdrawal phase such as meditation, socialising, or exercise.

  • Have more money - If you smoke 20 cigarettes a day, quitting could save you more than £275 every month - that is over £3,000 a year!

  • Reduce your risk - Smoking is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK and it increases your risk of developing over 50 serious health conditions which can be fatal or irreversible.

  • Protect others - protect people around you who used to inhale your smoke, known as passive smoking.

A person doing yoga by the sea
Scientific studies demonstrate that your stress levels are reduced after you stop smoking

Top tips to quit:

  • Positive thinking – stay positive and motivated to improve your mood and help to continue with your quitting journey.

  • Make a plan – download the free NHS Stoptober app to help you quit smoking and breathe easier with tracking your progress, see how much you’re saving and get daily support.

  • Fuel your success – some foods, such as meat, can make smoking more pleasurable. Swapping to healthier alternatives such as vegetarian meals can help overcome this.

  • Think about drinks – swap your tea/ coffee/ fizzy drink for more water and juice. Some people find drinks such as tea, coffee and fizzy can make cigarettes taste better.

  • Identify cigarette cravings – A craving is known to last 5 minutes. Making a list of 5-minute distractions can help to avoid the need to smoke.

  • Get stop smoking support – Ask your family and friends if they are thinking of quitting and discuss a plan together. Get help from your local NHS stop smoking service.

Why is smoking addictive? Nicotine is a highly addictive substance contained within tobacco. Regular consumption of nicotine causes a release of the chemical dopamine within the brain. The dopamine will influence the brain to repeat the same behaviour (smoking) over and over.

For support to quit, visit NHS Better Health. Download the "What happens if you quit smoking today?" PDF here to share with your teams


Our sources and for more information: NHS Better Health Free Health Promotion Resources: Be the first to receive Health Chatter information, and other content related to employee health and wellbeing by signing up to our Health Chatter emails.

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