Giving up the cigarettes can be a huge challenge, particularly if you’ve smoked for years. This isn’t helped by research that proves the addictive power of the drug that is nicotine. The US National Institute on Drug Abuse says nicotine is a highly addictive substance that stimulates sensations of pleasure within the brain. Without a steady supply of nicotine to maintain those happy feelings the drug gives, smokers can swiftly experience very unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. This includes anxiety, cognitive and attention deficits and depression.
Thankfully, there are many huge benefits that come from quitting smoking – much greater than you may realise – to help beat the power of nicotine. Here are ten surprising facts from The Best of Health about quitting smoking, which should help any heavy smoker quit the habit for good.
1. Quitting Smoking Could Make You 3 Times More Attractive
The yellow fingers and bad breath are one thing, but the NHS states smokers are actually much more sexually unattractive than non-smokers. NHS Choices says that non-smokers are, on average, in fact, three times more appealing to prospective partners than smokers. As an additional bonus, as a non-smoker your blood-flow will improve, which heightens sexual sensitivity and enhances arousal
2. You Could Save £3000 More a Year Than a Heavy Smoker
Money saved may often be the first thing smokers think about when quitting. But calculating this will probably be much greater than you think. According to money-saving expert Martin Lewis, quitting smoking could save you thousands. Those who smoke 10 cigarettes a day could save £1,500 a year, but those who smoke a packet a day could save £3,000.
3. You’re Less Likely to Kill Your Loved Ones If You Quit Smoking
We’ve all heard about the dangers of passive smoking, but not many will know just how serious it is. A global study, conducted by the World Health Organisation back in 2011, revealed over 600,000 people each year die as a result of passive smoking. Of these, a third are children. By quitting, not only will you be improving your own health; you’ll be helping keep those around you healthy too, including your loved ones, children and grandchildren.
4. You Won’t Put on as Much Weight as You Think If You Quit Smoking
A great concern to smokers is that quitting the habit will lead to weight gain. Well it might, but not as much as you think. According to researchers at the Kyoto Medical Centre in Japan, the more dependent on nicotine and the heavier smoker you are, the more weight you are likely to gain when you quit. This is good news if you aren’t already a heavy smoker, or have cut down. But if you are a heavy smoker the weight gain actually isn’t that extreme. The researchers conducted a study that found heavy smokers only put on an average of 2.5 pounds over three months.
5. Quitting Will Bring Your Stress Levels Down
Many smokers report feeling relaxed when they light up a cigarette. But, in actual fact, people’s stress levels are significantly lower after they stop smoking. According to the NHS Choice’s webpage, Quit Making Excuses, despite what you may think, nicotine doesn’t actually calm you down. It is the body’s nicotine cravings between cigarettes which make you feel stressed and anxious. This means when smoking your next cigarette you will feel calmer. The truth is, you’ll feel a lot less stressed once you quit smoking and those cravings are gone completely.
6. Non-Smokers Are 2 Times Less Likely to Have a Heart Attack
According to the British Heart Foundation (BHF), smoking leads to the build-up of fatty material within the arteries, which increases the risk of a heart attack. But stopping smoking actually reduces the risk of having a heart attack more than you may think. In fact, the BHF says that “smokers are almost twice as likely to have a heart attack” compared with people who have never smoked.
7. Non-Smokers Are 3 Times Less Likely to Suffer a Stroke
Smoking is often linked to lung cancer, but being a smoker also makes you more prone to suffering a stroke. According to the Stroke Association, smokers are, in fact, three times more likely to have a stroke than non-smokers. This is because when you smoke, you inhale tobacco smoke which contains over 7,000 toxic chemicals. The Stroke Association says these chemicals change and damage cells all around your body. It is these changes that increase your risk of stroke.
8. You Are 6 Times Less Likely to Get Mouth Cancer Than a Heavy Smoker
Many people often associate smokers with yellow-stained teeth. But the dangers to your mouth from smoking can go far beyond that. According to NHS Choices, if you are a smoker you are more at risk from developing gum disease and, more worryingly, mouth cancer. In fact, the NHS says if you smoke 20 or more cigarettes a day, you’re six times more likely to develop mouth cancer than a non-smoker.
9. Quitting Smoking Will Improve Circulation to Your Hands and Feet
Many of you will know smoking can result in problems with breathing, but, according to South Devon Healthcare NHS’s review, smoking can pose much more serious problems when it comes to circulation. In severe cases, this can lead to Buerger’s Disease, which is the inflammation of blood vessels in the legs and arms. This can lead to blood vessel blockage in the hands and feet, and even amputation.
10. You Are More Likely to Live Longer Than a Smoker
Finally, it’s common knowledge that smoking can be fatal, but according to a 30-year study, undertaken at the University of Oslo in Norway, the situation is much bleaker than you might suspect. Of those who had classified themselves as heavy smokers, 45% of the men and 33% of the women had died within the 30 year period. Of their non-smoking counterparts, however, only 18% of men and 13% of women died during the same time frame.
Find the Resolve to Quit Smoking Today
If you’re smoker, and this list of frightening facts has made you even more determined than ever to quit smoking, rest assured, there is plenty of help and support available, should you need it. The NHS offers a Quit Kit for those looking to stop smoking. There are also many NHS smoking cessation clinics across the country to give you the help you need to quit.
For more information visit: www.nhs.uk/smokefree.
For 6 tips to help you quit smoking, follow this link to our earlier article: