Quit smoking – don’t give up on your health

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The statistics alone should be a deterrent.

Smoking is the biggest preventable cause of death in England, accounting for more than 80,000 premature deaths each year. With roughly 21 per cent of adults in England reaching for a packet of cigarettes each day, the Department of Health has declared tobacco use as one of our most significant public health challenges.

A person smoking just 15 cigarettes a day will spend roughly £40 a week on their addiction. That is the equivalent of five trips to the cinema and equates to an annual cost of more than £2,000 – money that could be spent on several weekend spa breaks or even a trip abroad each year.

Now, wouldn’t it be nice to see some of the wonders of the world instead?

No-one said that quitting smoking was easy. But the benefits of doing so are enormous both to your health and your bank balance.

Non-smokers have less chance of developing illness, disability or even death caused by cancer, heart or lung disease.

Giving up the cigarettes also reduces the risk of circulatory and respiratory problems and can even increase fertility.

Many people who quit smoking see a rise in confidence as the appearance of both their teeth and skin improves. In addition to this, ex-smokers no longer have to worry about whether other people can smell their bad habit.

Quitting may well have been your resolution for 2013 but it isn’t something you can turn on and off with ease – you may be finding it harder to stop smoking than previously expected.

Even if you are one of those who have tried and failed to quit, remember: don’t give up on giving up. Take action now rather than waiting until New Year’s Day 2014.

Quit smoking and the health benefits start within just 20 minutes of your last cigarette. Raised blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal and after a further eight hours, oxygen levels will also stabilise.

Twenty four hours later, carbon monoxide levels will be zero and the lungs will start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris. Another smoke-free day will see all nicotine gone from the body and a further three days will allow the bronchial tubes to relax and breathing to become much easier.

In six months, lung function can increase by up to 10 per cent, while five smoke-free years will see the risk of heart attack reduced by half of that of someone still smoking. After ten years that risk falls to the same level as someone who has never smoked at all.

Quitting might not be easy but the positive impact it will have on your life and health will make it worthwhile. Your GP can provide advice and support and there are several smoking cessation aids on the market.

Joining Benenden Health gives you access to a wide range of advice services and information for every part of life, including instant access to a health concern advice line, which will direct you to the best advice for quitting smoking.

Benenden Health is the UK’s most trusted healthcare provider as voted in the Moneywise Awards for the last two years.

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