Rona Robinson, Superintendent Pharmacist at the Campus Pharmacy shares advice and information on quitting for National Stop Smoking Day on March 11th.
100,000 – That’s the estimated number of people who die every year in the UK due to smoking. It’s a shocking statistic but for many people, stopping smoking can be extremely difficult because of the addictiveness of nicotine.
When cigarette smoke is inhaled, the nicotine alters chemicals in the brain which causes mood and concentration levels to change. This may lead to feelings of pleasure and many smokers find this enjoyable. However, the more you smoke, the more your brain becomes used to the nicotine which makes stopping smoking difficult. Although it may seem impossible, there is help at hand and with No Smoking Day fast approaching people have a great opportunity to find out about the services available to them on their doorstep to help them stop smoking.
As a pharmacist, I’ve helped many people to stop smoking. In fact, every month in the UK, 4,000 people quit smoking with the help of NHS counselling in community pharmacies. This involves a consultation with a pharmacist who can help create a programme to improve your chances of stopping smoking. During this consultation, you’ll be asked to set a quit date.
It’s important to be as realistic as possible. For example, if you have an important exam coming up, it’s better to set the quit date for after this. Once the quit date is set, I encourage people to let their friends and family know as their support and encouragement can be invaluable. It’s also important to stay positive and this can be helped by saving the money you would have spent on cigarettes and treating yourself to something you enjoy.
If you’re struggling with nicotine withdrawal cravings, most pharmacies provide Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) which helps to reduce cravings by replacing the nicotine from cigarettes but without the toxic chemicals such as tar and carbon monoxide. NRT is available in patches, chewing gum, lozenges, tablets, sprays and inhalators. Your pharmacist can help you to choose the most suitable product for you.
Stopping smoking can bring with it some short‐term side effects such as a cough, a slight headache, anxiety and irritability but on the plus side, stopping smoking can lead to younger looking skin, whiter teeth, improved smell and taste and better breathing. And it’s never too late to stop smoking. If you’ve been smoking 20 a day for the last 10 years, you may think that there’s no point in giving up but you can increase your life expectancy no matter what age you give up provided you stop before you develop cancer or another serious disease.
To find out more about stopping smoking or other pharmacy services, simply pop into the Campus Pharmacy in the Hutton Hub. Our one-to-one quit smoking service is completely confidential. All our staff are trained stop smoking advisors and are happy to help. Alternatively, call 01707284054 to make an appointment.