Tobacco was introduced into Europe in the late 15th century, and people have been smoking it recreationally ever since. It wasn't until the early 20th century that the harmful effects of smoking came to light, and studies continue to expose just how dangerous the habit can be to our health. Today smoking is considered to be the greatest single cause of premature death in the UK.
Despite the abundance of evidence highlighting the health risks of smoking, many people find the habit incredibly hard to break. Often people start smoking out of curiosity, due to peer pressure or simply out of boredom. Having family members who smoke can also increase a person's chances of picking up the habit. Before long, an addiction can form and this can overwhelm people physically and emotionally.
Quitting this kind of addiction often takes more than willpower alone to accomplish. For many, hypnotherapy for smoking is an effective means of breaking the habit for good. Medication and additional treatments can also help.
Researching the effects of smoking, learning what you'll gain from quitting and discovering all the different ways to quit is an important first step to breaking the habit.
On this page
- Why is smoking so harmful?
- Smoking facts and figures
- Why you should stop smoking
- The benefits of quitting
Why is smoking so harmful?
On the surface a cigarette may look harmless, but it’s the smoke released when the cigarette is burned that causes problems. Cigarettes are not just tobacco wrapped in paper. They contain a whole cocktail of chemicals, which are added during the manufacturing process to make them taste better and get you hooked. The following is a list of some of the harmful substances you are breathing in every time you smoke:
This is the drug that stimulates the brain and causes addiction in smokers. If you smoke regularly, you may find as soon as you withdraw from the nicotine you experience unpleasant symptoms. These may include intense cravings, increased anxiety, irritability and headaches. Smoking immediately relieves these symptoms.
Tar is the residue that deposits in your lungs after smoking tobacco. From here it enters the bloodstream and gets carried to other parts of the body. Shockingly, it contains over 4000 chemicals, over 50 cancer-causing carcinogens and other poisons. This is why smoking is considered one of the biggest causes of disease.
This gas affects how much oxygen your blood can carry around the body. As a result, smoking prevents your body from getting the oxygen it needs to function smoothly. This can lead to shortness of breath, low energy levels and poor circulation.
Smoking facts and figures
- There are around 10 million adults who smoke cigarettes in the UK.
- About 100,000 people in Britain die every year from smoking-related illnesses.
- Roughly half of all smokers die prematurely due to smoking-related diseases.
- The life expectancy of a smoker is about 10 years less than that of a non-smoker.
- In the UK, only about half of long-term smokers live past the age of 70.
- Most smoking-related deaths are long and painful, with many unpleasant symptoms.
- Around 17,000 children under the age of five are admitted to hospital every year because of passive smoking-related illnesses.
Why you should stop smoking
Smoking increases your risk of developing a wide range of health ailments and diseases. Below we explore some of the most common:
- Lung cancer - More than eight in 10 cases of lung cancer are directly related to smoking.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - Again, eight out of 10 cases of this distressing lung disease are caused by smoking.
- Heart disease - Considered the UK's biggest killer, around one in six cases is caused by smoking.
- Other cancers - Including mouth, throat, nose, blood, cervix and pancreatic cancer.
- Infertility - Smoking affects the fertility of men and women, making it harder to conceive.
- Gum disease - On top of staining your teeth, smoking can cause premature tooth loss due to gum disease.
Smoking not only harms your health, it can also negatively impact the livelihood of those around you. Children and babies living with people who smoke are vulnerable to a whole host of health problems. These include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and an increased risk of dying from cot death.
Adults who endure passive smoking for a long period of time are at increased risk of heart disease and lung cancer. Tobacco is also an irritant so it can make conditions such as asthma worse.
The benefits of quitting
The above information may make for a scary read, but for some the long-term risks are not enough to encourage them to quit smoking. If you are young and a smoker, you may find it hard to be concerned about your health and the illnesses that could strike decades later. If you are older, you may assume it's too late to stop smoking and reverse the effects it has had.
In reality, it is never too late to quit. The sooner you quit smoking, the faster your body will recover and your risk of developing life-threatening conditions will decrease.
Longer life expectancy
If you quit smoking by the age of 30, you could increase your life expectancy by 10 years. Even if you are in your 60s when you decide to quit, you can still add three years onto your life. Not only will you have a longer life if you stop smoking, you should also have fewer health problems.
Carbon monoxide robs your body of oxygen, which makes it difficult for it to work properly. When you stop smoking you will be lowering the carbon monoxide levels in your blood, allowing your lungs and muscles to work the way they should. More oxygen to the brain will also help you to feel more alert, energised and awake.
Boosted immune system
When you smoke, your immune system is lowered. This makes you more susceptible to colds and flu. When you quit smoking your immune system gets a boost, which means you will pick up less illnesses and generally feel healthier all round.
If you have smoked 20 cigarettes a day for 10 years, you will have spent approximately £20,000 on smoking. Every time a craving hits - think about what you could do with that extra money.
Within nine months of quitting smoking, your lung capacity should increase by as much as 10%. This will help you to do simple things like climb stairs without feeling out of breath. Your smoker's cough should also disappear and any breathing difficulties or conditions you have (such as asthma) should be dramatically reduced.
Many smokers reach for a cigarette when they are feeling stressed. While the immediate hit of nicotine after withdrawal may make you feel relaxed at first, in the long-term, smoking increases stress levels. Studies have shown that ex-smokers are less stressed than they were when they were smoking.
Younger looking skin
Smoking prematurely ages the skin. Regular smoking can leave your skin dull, dry and prone to wrinkles. When you quit smoking, this effect is reversed as your skin receives the nutrients it needs. In time, you should find your complexion brightens up and any lines you have may appear reduced.
Hypnotherapy for smoking is just one of the ways you can quit for good and fully embrace the benefits of being a non-smoker. Please read on to find out more on what happens when you stop smoking, and what to expect as soon as you stop, and several years down the line.
Quit smoking timeline
|Amount of time since your last cigarette:||Effects on your body:|
|20 minutes||Your blood pressure and heart rate will return to normal.|
|12 hours||Carbon monoxide levels will drop back to normal.|
|24 hours||Your body will start to clear out the mucus built up in your lungs.|
|72 hours||Breathing will become easier and your energy levels will increase.|
|1 month||The appearance of your skin will start to improve.|
|3-9 months||Your lung function could improve by up to 10%.|
|1 year||Risk of suffering from a heart attack falls to about half of that of a smoker.|
|10 years||Risk of developing lung cancer falls to about half of that of a smoker.|
|15 years||Risk of suffering a heart attack falls to that of a non-smoker.|
Common fears when quitting
If you have made the decision to stop smoking, it is very likely that you have some initial fears. These are completely natural. Below are some common fears and what to really expect when you quit:
- Gaining weight - Nicotine is an appetite suppressant so it is possible that when you stop smoking, your appetite will increase. This is not the case with everyone, but it is worth preparing for just in case it happens to you. Make sure you stock up on healthy snacks and aim to increase your levels of physical activity. Remember, even if you do gain weight, it can be lost again.
- Not having a social tool - For some people, smoking is considered a social tool that brings friends/family/colleagues together. However, since the smoking ban was introduced in 2007, smoking outside has become an isolating experience. When you stop smoking, you can stay inside and encourage your smoking friends and family to join you and quit together.
- Feeling it's not the right time - This is a common excuse, but sadly there is unlikely to ever be a 'good' time to quit. Life will always have its ups and downs; the trick is to deal with them without resorting to smoking. The longer you put off quitting, the more damage you'll be doing to your body.
It can help to have a solid reason or goal in mind before you quit smoking. This will help to keep you focused. For example, you may want to quit because you are trying for a baby or because you've promised your other half that you will stop. It may simply be because you want to be healthier. Whatever the reason, try writing it down and pin it up somewhere you can see it every day.
Once you have made the commitment to stop smoking, you need to seek help. Seeing your GP is a great first step. He or she can talk you through the various treatments to help you quit. Stop smoking hypnosis is one approach that can help you to kick the habit for good.
Ways to stop smoking
Whether you consider yourself a social smoker or a heavy smoker, the thought of quitting can be daunting. According to Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), around two thirds of current smokers would like to stop smoking, however 60% say they would find it hard to last a whole day without a cigarette.
Stopping smoking can be tough, but it's the absolute best thing you can do for your health. Below we explore some of the ways to stop smoking, including hypnotherapy.
Nicotine Replacement therapy (NRT)
Your GP may recommend treatment in the form of NRT. This works by releasing small amounts of nicotine steadily into your bloodstream without the addition of chemicals, tar and carbon monoxide found in cigarettes. This helps to control your cravings when withdrawal symptoms kick in. NRT comes in different forms, including skin patches, chewing gum, tablets, and nasal spray.
Stop smoking medication
There are two medications available on the NHS that can help you to quit the habit. These are:
- Zyban (bupropion) - Experts are unsure exactly how it helps, but it is thought to affect parts of the brain involved in addictive behaviour. A course of Zyban treatment lasts around seven to nine weeks.
- Champix (varenicline) - This works by preventing nicotine from attaching to parts of the brain that respond to nicotine. This reduces the pleasure and reinforcing effects of smoking. It also helps to reduce withdrawal symptoms while you quit. It is recommended that you take Champix for around 12 weeks to successfully stop smoking.
Stop smoking hypnosis
A great number of people find hypnotherapy for smoking an effective treatment for breaking the habit for good. In the next section we will explore this method in more detail and how it works to break negative behaviours and thinking patterns that may be preventing you from giving up smoking with willpower alone.
Hypnotherapy for smoking
When it comes to quitting smoking, a key aspect is letting go of the routine you once had and looking at cigarettes differently. Hypnotherapy for smoking is fast becoming one of the most popular forms of treatment to help you do this.
If you are considering stop smoking hypnosis, the first step is to make sure you are choosing to quit for yourself. Hypnotherapy is most effective when you really want to quit. For example, if you are stopping because friends or a family member is pushing you, you may not get the results you want.
Hypnotherapy works by putting you in a deep, relaxed state where your mind is more open to suggestion. At this point your hypnotherapist will look to change your thought patterns by making suggestions such as 'I do not want a cigarette' or 'I am repelled by the smell of cigarette smoke'. You may also be taught various tools and techniques, which you can practise at home.
Some people find stop smoking hypnosis is enough to break the habit, while others prefer to combine the treatment with NRT or medication. This helps to tackle both the physical and mental addiction together. By exploring all the avenues you should find a suitable treatment that will help you quit smoking for good.
It is important to remember that hypnotherapy for smoking is not a quick fix. While for some people just one session is enough to quit smoking, others may benefit from a follow-up session. The ultimate aim of stop smoking hypnosis is to empower people to take control their addiction and develop new patterns of thinking that promote healthier behaviours.
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