Stoptober – are you ready for the Stop Smoking challenge?
Stoptober is back for 2013 following its huge success last year, when 160,000 people successfully completed the 28 day stop smoking challenge.
New research* shows that someone who stops smoking for Stoptober, and quits for good, could gain an extra 7 days of life, every 28 days, for the rest of their life.
In addition to the health benefits, quitting smoking will save the average smoker over £150 a month, that’s nearly £2,000 a year‡.
Research shows that those who stop smoking for 28 days are 5 times more likely to stay smokefree.
The stoptober 28 day challenge starts on Tuesday, 1st October 2013.
* University of Toronto: 21st Century Hazards of Smoking and Benefits of Cessation in the United States.
‡ Based on £7.77 for a packet of cigarettes (Office of National Statistics, May 2013) and an average daily consumption of 13 manufactured cigarettes per smoker (2011 General Lifestyle Survey)
Increase your chances of stopping smoking with Nicotine Replacement Therapy.
If you have tried to quit before you will be aware that overcoming your cravings for nicotine will be your biggest challenge. Going cold turkey may be appealing, and works for some, but research suggests that willpower alone is not the best method to stop smoking, with only three in every hundred quitters managing to stop for good this way.
Using Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) or other stop-smoking medicines can double your chances of quitting successfully.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) supplies the body with nicotine at levels that control withdrawal symptoms allowing the smoker to concentrate on breaking their behavioural dependence on cigarettes. As the smoker changes their smoking behavior they can then gradually wean themselves off the nicotine by “stepping down” the NRT either by using a lower strength or by using it less frequently.
There are a variety of NRT products available to buy from your community pharmacy or from a reputable online pharmacy. Choice of NRT product is mostly based on patient preference and there is not a lot of difference in how well the different formulations work. If a particular NRT formulation has not been successful, an alternative one may prove more beneficial. If someone has particularly bad withdrawal symptoms, combining different NRT formulations may be an option, for example a patch and either gum, spray or an inhalator.
NRT Choices available to you:
Patches: Release nicotine into the bloodstream and are best suited to regular smokers with low dependence on the behavioural aspects of smoking. 24 hour patches may be more effective for those who smoke a cigarette soon after waking. 16 hour patches may be preferable for those who suffer sleep disturbances when using NRT.
Gum: Chewed when there is an urge to smoke. This may be the most appropriate option for those with irregular smoking habits.
Lozenges and microtabs: Best suited to those with irregular smoking patterns and have the advantage of being discreet as they are not sucked or swallowed but left to dissolve slowly in the mouth.
Inhalator: May be useful for people who miss the hand to mouth action of smoking. The nicotine is inhaled through the mouth in a similar manner to smoking a cigarette.
Nasal spray: Useful for heavy smokers and those who want rapid relief from cravings. Mimics the rapid increase in nicotine levels that you get from smoking cigarettes.
Mouth spray: Also provides rapid relief from cravings and is the fastest form of NRT in terms of how quickly the nicotine reaches the brain.
Electronic cigarettes: E-cigarettes are not a licensed Nicotine Replacement Therapy product. They are electrical devices that mimic real cigarettes, producing a vapour that’s potentially less harmful than tobacco smoke. Many e-cigarettes contain nicotine and, when they do, it’s the vapour that gives the nicotine hit.
E-cigarettes aren’t available on the NHS. In June 2013, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) announced plans to license electronic cigarettes as medicines by 2016. This decision has been prompted by growing concerns about the safety and quality of these unlicensed products and the varying nicotine content compared to the label on the packaging.
Stopping Smoking will take willpower.
NRT does not ‘make’ you stop smoking. You still need determination to succeed in breaking the smoking habit. Stop Smoking Clinics are available on the NHS and these have good success in helping people to stop smoking. Some pharmacies offer Smoking Cessation services too. Support from friends and family is important as well.
If you are up for the Stoptober, 28 day smokefree challenge, it starts on Tuesday, 1st October 2013. For more information and to join the biggest stop smoking challenge of its kind, search ‘Stoptober’ online.