Following last year’s success, which saw 160,000 people stop smoking in October, Stoptober is back with a bang. The premise is simple in theory: stop smoking for 28 days, and your chances of quitting for good escalate by five times. And with tonnes of free support available, there is never a better time to give it a go..
Picture a student night in Southampton: regardless of the venue, it’s pretty much doubtless that the outdoor area will be crowded with ‘non-smokers’. Seems reasonable, until you realise you are straining to see their faces through the clouds of thick smoke issuing from their non-smoking mouths.
Many students reject the ‘smoker’ label, choosing instead to identify themselves as non or social smokers, despite the fact that statistics show smoking is highest amongst 20-24 year olds. Another study has also shown that students are more likely to drink, smoke and take drugs than the general population. Similarly, many of us may believe that Stoptober is aimed at the older generation, or more regular/ addicted smokers. In spite of the indignant cries of ‘social smoker’, ‘non-addict’ and ‘peer pressure’, we are here to discover what Stoptober can mean for us…
“But I only smoke socially”….
We have all been brought up indoctrinated by the dangers of cigarettes, yet many people believe themselves to be immune from the risks, sometimes because they are “not addicted”, or “only smoke socially”- we all know the excuses. Unfortunately though, smoking always has consequences- even for passive and occasional smokers- not least stemming from the fact that nicotine is highly addictive, so many light habits will evolve into frequent smoking .
Numerous studies have shown that even small amounts of tobacco can produce significantly increased risks of harmful and fatal effects, which may even lead to one of the 114,000 annual deaths caused by smoking. Another study has proved that:
even exposure to just 30 minutes of second hand smoke could be sufficient to trigger a fatal heart attack.
In fact, contrary to a large proportion of belief (or maybe wishful thinking), The British Lung Foundation has warned that:
the habits of social smoking may even exaggerate the lung damage caused by cigarettes, due to smoking numerous cigarettes in a shorter period of time.
“I do it to relieve stress”…
Some students may protest the medicinal purposes of smoking; helping them to relax and de-stress. On the contrary however, medical evidence has shown that
smoking does not offer any calming or relaxing benefits
In fact, the temporary feeling of calm caused by smoking only comes from the temporary recess of nicotine cravings.
What’s in it for me?
It is also a common thought that those who have not been smoking for long will not reap any benefits from quitting, but the NHS has published information suggesting that even after a month of stopping, your skin will be clearer and more hydrated; after 3-9 months your breathing will have improved; and after 15 years your risk of heart attack and heart disease will be the same as someone who has never smoked. With the average carton of 20 cigarettes pricing up at nearly £8, another important incentive is all of the money you will free up.
What support is available?
You can register for a free support pack here… https://stoptober.smokefree.nhs.uk/, including text and email support.