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The benefits of smoking cessation within:

  • 20mins Blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal
  • 8hrs Oxygen concentration in the blood returns to normal. Nicotine and carbon monoxide blood concentrations are reduced by 50%
  • 48hrs Nicotine has been eliminated from the body. Sense of taste and smell improve
  • 72hrs Breathing is easier
  • Energy levels begin to increase
  • 2-12 weeks Circulation improves, making physical activity easier
  • 3-9 months Lung function increased by 10%
  • Cilia (small hairs in airways) re-grow
  • Coughing, shortness of breath and wheeziness improve
  • 5 yrs Risk of heart attack falls to half that of a smoker
  • Risk of cancer of mouth, throat and oesophagus is half that of a smoker
  • 10yrs Risk of lung cancer is half that of a smoker
  • 15yrs Risk of heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked

What is available to help you stop?

Patches: These are convenient, simple to use and discreet. They also require the least effort of all cessation aids. The main issue with patches is that if left on over night they can cause sleep disturbances. There are 16hr patches or you can remove the patch before going to bed. The only problem with this is for smokers who crave a cigarette immediately upon waking as the patch will take up to 30mins to start working once applied.

Nicotine Gum: Gum works well if used correctly. The proper technique is to chew the gum slowly (to release the nicotine), and then when the taste changes it should be rested between the cheek and the gums to allow the nicotine to be absorbed. It only requires chewing once the taste has faded. The issue is that it takes approx 10mins to take effect.

Other alternative are sublingual tablets, nasal sprays and the currently very popular vaping. The main concern with the latter is that smokers are simply swapping the source of nicotine. Although the vapour is free of tar and carcinogens there are still questions as to the long term effects.