Can quitting smoking for a month really make a difference?
What is Stoptober?
The national campaign is a government-funded initiative with the overall aim of getting people to give up smoking for good.
Despite encouraging people to avoid cigarettes for just one month, the idea is that this brief period of going cold turkey will highlight the benefits of quitting permanently.
Those taking part are supported not only by local health professionals, but also celebrities and other public figures as part of a UK-wide media promotion.
Is there any point in quitting smoking for a month?
While it may feel like a relatively short time to give up smoking, the amount of positive changes that will occur in your body as a result is quite astounding.
For example, just 20 minutes after your last cigarette, both your blood pressure and pulse rate will drop back to normal levels, and the temperature of your hands and feet will also become more regulated.
After just one day, your risk of having a stroke or heart attack starts to decrease. After two days, all the nicotine by-products in your body are removed from your system.
The benefits really are that instant, meaning it won't be long before you begin to feel like a completely different, healthier person.
Towards the end of the month, you are likely to experience:
- Improved circulation
- Higher energy levels
- Better lung function
- Increased performance in aerobic and walking activities
Finally, it's probably worth mentioning the difference to your bank balance as well - smoking is an expensive habit.
Will Stoptober help me quit completely?
According to official figures, people who manage to give up for one month are five times more likely to kick the habit permanently.
If that's your main ambition, then Stoptober can definitely help you to achieve this by putting you into contact with professionals whose job it is to support you in your efforts to quit.
Another benefit is that you'll get access to a range of materials that can also make it easier, with smartphone apps and quitting packs just some of the resources available to those who sign up.
What other help can I get to give up smoking?
In addition to the support you'll receive by signing up to Stoptober, help and advice is available at your local Stop Smoking service. Those who use these facilities are apparently four times more likely to give up for good than those who try to go it alone.
Special medication or treatment methods may also make a difference. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is a popular option, which works by steadily reducing the levels of nicotine in your body so you aren't hit with withdrawal symptoms.
NRT is available in several different forms, including:
- Chewing gum
- Nasal sprays
Make no mistake, quitting smoking for good isn't always easy. However, the great news is that there is now much more help to make sure you succeed compared with even a few years ago.
With giving up the focus of many people across the UK during October, maybe now is the time for you to stub it out as well.