Stop Smoking Service


Stop Smoking Service

Stop Smoking Service

Page Contents
Benefits of Quitting Smoking
The Dangers of Passive Smoking
The Dangers of Smoking and Pregnancy
Top Ten Tips to Stop Smoking




The best way for smokers to reduce their risk of smoking-related cancer and improve their overall health is to stop smoking completely. Despite this, quitting smoking is not particularly easy as tobacco is highly addictive and a smoker's dependence is a combination of behavioural, cognitive, and physiological barriers. As such, it is extremely difficult to quit smoking on your first attempt, but it can be achieved.

There are many ways to quit and how you choose to quit is up to you. Although did you know that you are up to 4 times more likely to quit smoking successfully with the help of your pharmacist, or doctor. If you have decided to quit and looking for someone to help you on this journey then you have come to the right place. 

One of our smoking cessation advisers will create a plan for you, with regular reviews to monitor your progress and to provide information and encouragement during this journey. Plus, we can advise you on a combination of NRT products such as Nicorette, Nicotinell, and Niquitin that will help you overcome nicotine cravings and make your transition to being smoke-free more comfortable. Our smoking cessation advisers use an approach developed by health experts and ex-smokers, to provide expert advice, support, and encouragement to help you quit permanently.

This will benefit you and your family from a health perspective and financially too, if you are interested in becoming 'smoke-free' or know someone who is considering quitting smoking, please see the section on the Benefits of Quitting Smoking for more details.


Benefits of Quitting Smoking

Stopping smoking makes a considerable difference and improvement to your health and lifestyle in ways you may not expect. Once you stop smoking, some of the benefits are immediate whilst some reveal themselves later, all of which will be of benefit to you, your family, and your friends. 

Over time, quitting smoking will save you money. It is estimated the average smoker has 13 cigarettes per day, which equates to 364 cigarettes per month. That is on average £141 per month and £1,696 per year that you could save by not smoking. Not only will you save money, but you will also experience a reduced risk of:


  • Heart disease, strokes, respiratory ailments (difficulty breathing), and vascular disease.
  • A range of smoking-related cancers.


When you quit smoking your life expectancy will increase, plus you will notice an improvement in any symptoms you may be experiencing as a result of smoking-related diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It is widely known that smoking seriously harms your health, although, once you stop smoking your body starts to repair itself. In time you will feel fitter and more able to take part in physical activity, which in turn can benefit your mental health and well-being. 


Within 1 to 3 days, you will experience:

  • A drop in heart rate.
  • Carbon monoxide and oxygen levels in your blood will return to normal (similar levels of people who have never smoked).
  • Your sense of taste and smell will improve.


Within 2 to 12 weeks of quitting smoking you will benefit from:

  • A reduction in the risk of sudden death from a heart attack.
  • An improvement in lung function.
  • Less coughing and shortness of breath.
  • fewer and less severe asthma attacks (if you are asthmatic and a smoker).


Within 3 to 9 months of quitting the habit you will benefit from:

  • An improvement in your symptoms of chronic bronchitis, phlegm, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
  • Less risk of ulcers.


Within 1 year of quitting smoking you will benefit from:

  • Lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), which is reduced by half, compared to those people still smoking.
  • An improvement in lung function among individuals with mild to moderate COPD.




The Dangers of Passive Smoking

Quitting smoking will also provide a positive impact on the health of your friends and family. As you are no longer harming others around you through second-hand smoke, otherwise known as passive smoking. Passive smokers will eventually face the same dangers as smokers themselves. As they will be unable to avoid inhaling the same poisonous gases and the myriad of toxic chemicals found in tobacco smoke, causing the development of smoking-related diseases. Stopping smoking is of great benefit to babies and children, as they are at greater risk of:


  • Sudden and unexpected death in infancy (SUDI).
  • Respiratory ailments such as chest infections and other related illnesses.
  • Reduced lung functions, middle ear disease, and asthma attacks.




The Dangers of Smoking and Pregnancy

If you are pregnant it is advisable that you quit smoking immediately and avoid situations where second-hand smoke can occur, as you will increase the likelihood of complications during your pregnancy and labour. The earlier you stop smoking, the better it will be for your baby and yourself, as smoking whilst pregnant not only increases the chances of miscarriage but can also cause:


  • Ectopic Pregnancy, this is when a fertilised egg implants itself outside the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes. This will result in the egg not developing into a baby and presenting a considerable risk to your health the longer the pregnancy continues. Resulting in the removal of the egg using medication or an operation.


  • Placental problems, such as placenta previa and placental abruption. Placenta previa is when the placenta stays in the lower area of the uterus, either partially or fully covering the cervix. This can often result in tears, causing excessive blood loss, and can deprive the foetus of necessary nutrients and oxygen. Placental abruption is a condition in which the placenta starts to come away from the wall of the womb. This causes stomach pain, vaginal bleeding, and frequent contractions. It also affects your unborn baby by increasing the risk of premature birth, growth problems, and stillbirth.


When you inhale tobacco smoke, you are essentially inhaling over 4,000 chemicals into your body, which include carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde, and benzene. All of which will affect the placenta, reducing blow flow and will deprive your child of important nutrients and oxygen, which can lead to:


  • A slower rate of growth for your child.
  • Premature birth.
  • A lower birth weight increases the risk of illness and death in infancy.
  • Stillbirth.
  • Sudden and unexpected death in infancy (SUDI).
  • Breathing problems throughout childhood.
  • Cleft lip/palate.



Top Ten Tips to Stop Smoking

Whenever you decide to quit smoking it is important to remember that it is not easy to quit as many people claim. Tobacco is highly addictive and a smoker's dependence on smoking is a combination of behavioural, cognitive, and physiological barriers. For example, smokers often have a temptation to light up a cigarette after meals, or whilst having a drink such as tea or alcohol, or waiting for a train or bus etc.

Consequently, by making small changes to your lifestyle and habits you can help resist the urge and temptation to reach for that lighter. For this reason, we have provided a series of ten useful self-help tips that will help you on your journey to stop smoking:


  1. Think positive: You may have tried to quit smoking before and have not been successful, do not let this put you off. The benefits to you and your family will pay dividends in the future. Instead, look back at your past experience of trying to quit and what this has taught you. For many people, the reason why they are unsuccessful is due to a habit or trigger that causes doubt in their resolve to quit. So, be positive and think about how you are really going to quit smoking this time.
  2. Make a plan to quit smoking: Make a promise to yourself; set a date and stick to it. Stick to the 'not a single drag' rule, as this can really help. Whenever you find yourself needing a cigarette, say to yourself "I will not have a single drag," and repeat this until the cravings pass. At times this will be difficult, for example at a party, or enjoying a drink with friends. But plan your actions in advance, by having chewing gum to hand.
  3. Think about your diet: A study from the USA revealed that some foods such as meat make a cigarette more satisfying. If that after-dinner cigarette is your favourite, swap your food choices to another that makes the cigarette taste less favourable. Such foods include cheese, fruit, and vegetables. So by swapping your usual meat-based meal for a more vegetarian-friendly option, you can break your post-meal cigarette habit. 

    Another useful food-related tip can be to alter your routine at or after mealtimes. Getting up and washing the dishes straight away after eating, or settling down in a room where you would not normally smoke can help to keep the post-dinner cravings in check.
  4. Change what you drink: The same study from the USA also looked at drinks. The findings found that alcohol, fizzy drinks, tea, and coffee all made cigarettes taste better. So if you find yourself out and, and about to have a drink, choose options like water or juice.

    Some people also found that changing their normal drink, for example switching from wine to vodka and tomato juice affected their need to light up a cigarette. But, please bear in mind the alcohol unit quantity in an alternative beverage may vary considerably from what you are used to drinking.
  5. Identify when you crave a smoke: The cravings you get to smoke can last up to 5 minutes, this is one of the biggest barriers when you decide to quit is how to deal with those habitual cravings.

    Before you decide to give up, make a list of 5-minute strategies that can distract you when the cravings arise. By distracting yourself, you will have a greater chance of overcoming your cravings, improving your chance of becoming smoke-free.
  6. Get support to help you stop smoking: You are up to 4 times more likely to quit smoking successfully with expert help and advice. If friends and family are also smokers and want to give up also, suggest to them that you quit together, as you can provide support to each other when needed.
  7. Get moving through exercise: Recent scientific studies have demonstrated that exercise, like a 5-minute walk or stretches, can cut down your cravings and can help your brain to produce chemicals through exercising that may help you to cope with your cravings.
  8. Make friends with non-smokers: When you are at a party or other social gathering, stick with the non-smokers. As this will prevent you from having the temptation of all those social habits that are related to people who smoke. It will also help you to fight your cravings by limiting your access to situations and environments where second-hand smoke, otherwise known as passive smoking can occur.
  9. Keep your hands and mouth busy: Many people struggle to quit smoking due to the formation of habits that smokers develop over a period of time. Using Nicotine replacement therapy can help you to succeed. As well as patches, there are also tablets, lozenges, gum, and a nasal spray. Plus, for those people who miss physically holding a cigarette, there are many handheld products such as inhalers or e-cigarettes etc.

    For many people who try to give up smoking, it is advisable to break the habit of holding a cigarette by holding a drink in the hand that usually holds your cigarette. This coupled with a straw to drink from will keep both your hand and mouth busy.
  10. Make a list of reasons to quit smoking: It is important that you keep reminding yourself of why you made the decision to give up smoking. The best way is to make a list of reasons to quit and read this list when you need support. Alternatively, if you are quitting smoking due to a loved one, keep a photograph of them handy, so when you are tempted, take a look at the picture and gain newfound determination to continue your journey to become smoke-free.


If you are interested in quitting smoking, please talk to our health professionals at P&S Chemist, alternatively, read more about the treatments available on the NHS here, or speak to your doctor, pharmacist, or health professional.

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Page last reviewed: 02/11/2021
Next review date: 02/11/2023