Today is No Smoking Day. People have different reasons for wanting to give up smoking – saving money, improving their health, making the change for children or loved ones. No one can deny it is tough but focussing on the benefits can sometimes help to get you through. For example, did you know that your health starts to improve after just 24 hours of giving up?
When I was 8 years old, I witnessed my auntie have a major heart attack in front of me and her daughter who was 4 years old at the time. I remember it vividly; the memory of seeing her lying helplessly on the floor has never left me. What I didn’t know at the time or was too young to understand, was that my auntie had high cholesterol and was a heavy smoker. I know it’s easy to blame cigarettes but she had already been told by the doctor that her health was poor. Even though she looked healthy on the outside, inside her body was paying the price. And the worst thing; she was just 29 years old when she was taken into intensive care after suffering the heart attack. Thankfully she is still here today but is now facing a lifetime on medication to keep her condition under control. From this, we have to ask ourselves – was it worth it?
You may be wondering if this pushed her to give up smoking for good. No it didn’t but over the years, she started to reduce the nicotine and now uses an electric cigarette. Her journey has been tough but thankfully she is almost there – small steps make all the difference.
It’s so easy to continue a habit when the consequences don’t seem real and quite often, we don’t see how it is impacting those around us. But for my auntie, the trigger that finally pushed her to do something about it was not only her health, but the worry she causes her daughter who is now old enough to understand how it is affecting her. That fear has become embedded from a young age and she feels that next time, her mum may not be so lucky.
Everyone has their own personal reasons for taking that leap and making a change. But if you’re a smoker and need some help to quit, you could start by thinking – what’s your trigger? What will motivate you to take that leap?
There’s lot of help and advice available to get you started:
- Visit the No Smoking Day website
- Call the NHS Stop Smoking Service on 0800 169 4219
- Text SMOKEFREE to 60066 for information or advice
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Zoe Irish, Communications Officer