• Monday, December 11, 2023

Health

95% of ex-smokers experience positive life changes after quitting: Survey

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

A nationwide survey released on Tuesday (19) ahead of Stoptober, a national annual quit smoking campaign has found that nearly all (95%) ex-smokers notice positive changes in their lives as early as two weeks after quitting.

The quit smoking campaign, under the umbrella brand “Better Health Let’s Do This,” led by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, is back and urging smokers to join the thousands of others committing to quit from October 1.

Some of the immediate benefits of quitting smoking include having more energy (45%), feeling healthier (42%), and breathing better (42%).

Additionally, ex-smokers reported improvements in their ability to exercise (22%), healthier-looking skin (24%), a return of their sense of taste (25%), and saving money (34%), a press release from the department of health and social care said.

On average, a smoker can save £38 a week by quitting smoking, which amounts to around £2,000 a year.

These findings highlight the rapid improvements that smokers can expect when they decide to quit, including the restoration of their sense of taste and smell within as little as 48 hours.

Although smoking rates are declining, over five million adults in England still smoke, making smoking the single largest cause of preventable illness and death in the country, linked to 64,000 deaths annually.

The total cost of smoking to society in England is approximately £17 billion each year, including NHS treatment costs of around £1.9 billion per year.

Long-term benefits of quitting smoking include a reduced risk of various cancers and lung diseases.

Just one year after quitting, the risk of a heart attack is halved, and after 10 years, the risk of death from lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker.

Health Minister Neil O’Brien said, “We remain committed to our bold ambition to be smokefree by 2030, bolstered by a package of new measures giving vapes to a million smokers, new financial incentives for pregnant women to quit and new pack inserts to provide support for people to quit.”

Stoptober aligns with the government’s ambitious new initiatives, including offering financial incentives to encourage all pregnant women who smoke to quit.

Stoptober relies on research indicating that achieving 28 days of being smoke-free increases the chances of quitting for good by fivefold.

The theme for this year’s campaign, “When you stop smoking, good things start to happen,” aims to emphasise the immediate advantages that smokers can experience when they quit smoking.

While quitting smoking can be challenging, the survey revealed that support from family and friends (29%) and conversations with former smokers (21%) are significant motivators.

Other helpful strategies include finding distractions like keeping hands busy (37%), altering routines (37%), and going for walks (37%).

To support this year’s campaign, TV stars and ex-smokers Bobby Norris and Malin Andersson are sharing their success stories to encourage others to quit smoking.

Stoptober offers various free quitting support resources, including the NHS Quit Smoking app, a Facebook support group, an online Personal Quit Plan, a local stop smoking service lookup tool, and information on how vaping can assist in quitting smoking.

The survey was conducted by Censuswide, and included over 3,000 adults in England between August 23, 2023, and August 31, 2023.

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