The theme for No Smoking Day (10 March) this year is “quitting smoking doesn’t have to be stressful” and that’s exactly what we want to show here in Greater Manchester.
So, we were pleased to see a new Cochrane study which shows that it can take just six weeks for quitting smoking to improve your mood and mental health. Reductions in anxiety and depression in those who quit smoking are found to be at least as effective as taking anti-depressants.
The Cochrane study shows that quitting for at least six weeks may improve mental wellbeing, by reducing anxiety, depression and stress – compared to people who continued to smoke.
Meanwhile, new Public Health England data highlights that smoking isn’t helping people’s mental health, as it shows smokers have poorer mental wellbeing than non-smokers. This is in contrast to the commonly held myth that smoking helps people to relax and relieves stress. Any temporary sense of relaxation you may feel, soon leads to a vicious cycle of increased cravings and withdrawal symptoms which actually increase anxiety and tension.
With many people feeling more stressed and anxious during the pandemic, we are calling on people to make a quit attempt for their mental and physical health and wellbeing. In just a matter of weeks, you could see a boost to your mood and feel happier.
There is more support available than ever to help you on your quitting journey and we’ve pulled together a few top tips to get you off to a good start.
- Get the right help and support to take the stress out of quitting – using nicotine replacement therapy, stop smoking medication or e-cigarettes can help to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Your local stop smoking service will be able to talk through the options with you.
- Know your triggers – this will help you plan around the times when you’d typically have a cigarette. Try and think about your routine, keep yourself busy, do something you enjoy and makes you feel good instead.
- Stay positive and take it a step at a time – you’re doing an amazing thing for your health and wellbeing by making a quit attempt. Have a plan and give it a go. Don’t be disheartened if you experience any set-backs, it can take a few goes before you quit for good, but you will get there.
- Write down your reasons – everyone has their own personal reason why they’re quitting, whether it’s for health, family, or finances. Whatever yours is, make a note of it and keep it somewhere safe to remind yourself if you ever need any extra motivation.
- Think of the money you’ll save – this can also relieve stress and it’s so rewarding to see the savings adding up. Someone who smokes 10 cigarettes a day can expect to save around £2,000 a year! A handy tip is to put the money you’d spend in a jar so you can see how far you’ve come and plan to treat yourself to celebrate your success.
Visit YouCanGM.org to find information and details of stop smoking services and support across Greater Manchester or call the NHS Stop Smoking helpline free on 0300 123 1044.