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Specialist NHS Stop Smoking Service

Quitting is the best thing you'll ever do!

Stopping smoking can make a drastic improvement to your lifestyle and health in ways you might not expect. Once you stop smoking, some of the benefits are immediate and some are longer-term.

Please see below for information, guidance and the help and support services that are available to help you quit smoking for good. 

Reasons for giving up smoking

There are many good reasons to give up smoking:

  • Smoking causes premature wrinkles. Quitting keeps you looking younger.
  • Giving up smoking stops brown teeth and bad breath.
  • People who have quit smoking feel less stressed.
  • Your breathing and general fitness will improve.
  • Your sense of taste will return and you will enjoy the taste of food more.
  • Your fertility levels will improve, along with your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby.
  • Quitting smoking increases your sex drive.
  • You will save money – Use our cost calculator to work out how much you could save.

You will feel better after 20 minutes when you quit

Your body with start to feel better after 20 minutes, when pulse rate returns to normal. After 8 hours, nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by more than half and oxygen levels return to normal.

Within just 2 days:

  • carbon monoxide will be eliminated from the body
  • lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris
  • there is no nicotine in the body
  • your ability to taste and smell is improved

After 72 hours:

  • breathing becomes easier
  • bronchial tubes begin to relax
  • energy levels increase

After 2-12 weeks, your circulation improves. In just 3-9 months, coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as lung function increases by up to 10%.

Benefits for your family and friends when you quit

  • You will protect the health of those around you by not exposing them to second-hand smoke, however careful you think you are being.Read the facts about second-hand smoke
  • You will reduce the chances of your children suffering from bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma attacks, meningitis and ear infections.
  • Children who live with smokers are twice as likely to smoke.

Ready to quit? You're up to four times more likely to quit for good with our help.

Sign up today to get started.

Your health will keep improving

The benefits of quitting smoking increase over a longer time. After:

  • 1 year, your risk of heart disease is about half compared with a person who is still smoking
  • 10 years, the risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker
  • 15 years, risk of heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked.

What will quitting be like?

Quitting is easier if you know what to expect, so to help you prepare we've answered some of the most common questions about quitting below.

Remember, we're here for you whenever you need a bit of extra support - join our community on Facebook or Twitter.

What withdrawal and recovery symptoms can I expect?

From the moment you stop smoking, your body starts its recovery process. During this time you may find that you experience some nicotine withdrawal and recovery symptoms. You may still have the urge to smoke and you may feel a little restless, irritable, frustrated or tired. Some people also find that they have difficulty sleeping or concentrating. These symptoms will pass - you can see how your body recovers once you quit by using our health timeline.

There are plenty of things you can do to manage your cravings in the meantime. The Smokefree mobile app provides daily support and step-by-step tailored advice to help you quit smoking. Sign up for the app here. Don't worry if you don't have a smartphone - you can sign up for our SMS or email programme.

Remember, you're changing your life by quitting. You'll save money, improve your health and help those closest to you to be healthy as well. Focusing on the positives will help you to stay stopped while the withdrawal and recovery symptoms pass.

At Smokefree, we can help you manage your withdrawal symptoms. Sign up now and choose advice and support that suits you. If you would like further information or want to speak to someone about your recovery and withdrawal symptoms, you can speak to an adviser by calling the NHS Smoking Helpline on 0300 123 1044.

How can I manage my withdrawal and recovery symptoms, including cravings?

Everyone has their own way of coping once they quit - our quitting support will help you make a plan that suits you and the way you have chosen to quit smoking.

Stop smoking medicines, such as Champix, Zyban or nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can really help you to manage your cravings. All of these are available on prescription from your doctor.

You can read our guide to stop smoking medicines here.

Here are our top five distractions:

  1. Talk to someone - call a friend or relative to get some support.
  2. Go for a brisk walk - this will help clear your head and lungs.
  3. Stay busy! Download the Smokefree app or play a game on your mobile phone.
  4. Drink a glass of water or juice - keep yourself occupied for those crucial few minutes.
  5. Change the scene - just moving to another room can help, or step outside and get some fresh air.

Visit our Facebook page for more hints and tips from people who are trying to quit.

You can also make use of the tools on offer from Smokefree to support you during the first four weeks of your quit. The Smokefree app is a four week programme that puts practical support, encouragement and tailored advice in the palm of your hand. If you have a craving, there is a 'help' button with tips and distractions to help you get through the tough times. You can personalise your support using photos, audios and videos.

Don't worry if you don't have a smartphone, you can sign up for text message support that will keep you focused, wherever you are.

Choose the support that's right for you

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

During the Coronavirus outbreak local Stop Smoking Services are unable to offer face-to-face support, however they can still support you in your quit attempt using other contact methods such as telephone or video calling.

What to expect

Your local Stop Smoking Service has trained advisers on hand to support you, either one-to-one or in a group. The sessions usually start a couple of weeks before you quit.

Many people find that sharing the experience with others is really helpful.

Why it helps

Your adviser will be able to tell you about nicotine replacement products and other stop smoking medicines. They can also recommend which product or combination of products could work for you.

Need a little motivation? Your adviser can measure the levels of carbon monoxide in your body (the CO level) using a carbon monoxide monitor. The monitor shows how your CO level drops to the same level as a non-smoker's, just 24 hours after your last cigarette.

For further information on local support services, please visit our website

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