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Every October thousands of smokers across the UK join forces to quit for Stoptober.

There are multiple reasons why smoking is the best decision you’ll ever make for your help.

However, giving up such a powerful addiction can be a daunting prospect, particularly at a time when many of us are facing stress and uncertainty.

Thankfully in Wales there is free help and support available from the NHS Wales Help Me Quit service which is currently offering help over the telephone and can point you in the direction of the quit smoking method that will suit you best.

To get you on the road to thinking about quitting, we thought we’d list some of the reasons why quitting smoking really is the best decision you’ll ever make for your health:

Bouncing back

Did you know that the health benefits of quitting smoking kick in within just 20 minutes of you stubbing out your last cigarette? Here’s what happens to your body when you give up smoking:

 Within 20 minutes: Your pulse rate returns to normal

 Eight hours: The nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in your body reduce by more than half and your oxygen levels return to normal

48 hours: Carbon monoxide is eliminated from the body and the lungs start to clear out mucus and smoking debris. By this time there is no more nicotine in the body and your sense of taste and smell will be better.

72 hours: Your energy levels will improve as breathing becomes easier and your bronchial tubes start to relax

2 to 12 weeks: The blood circulation improves

3 to 9 months: Lung function increases by up to 10 per cent and coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve

 1 year: Your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker

10 years: The risk of you developing lung cancer has fallen to half that of a smoker

15 years: You now have the same risk of having a heart attack as somebody who has never smoked in their life

Smoking, health and Covid-19 – the facts

-Every cigarette you smoke contains 7,000 chemicals, including hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide and ammonia.  69 of these chemicals cause cancer.

-Half of all smokers will die prematurely and smokers die on average 10 years younger than non-smokers

-Smokers are twice as likely to have a heart attack compared to non-smokers

-For every 15 cigarettes you smoke, a mutation occurs in your body, which could lead to cancer.

-Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It is also a major cause of heart disease and doubles your risk of having a heart attack.

-The Covid-19 pandemic has made quitting smoking even more of a priority, with research showing that smokers are far more likely to suffer more severe symptoms from the virus.

Money, money, money

When you quit smoking, you’ll have a far healthier bank balance.

If you smoke 20 cigarettes a day you’ll be saving £72 a week and £312 a month once you quit. Within a year of giving up you’ll have an extra £3796 a month in your pocket.

Meanwhile 10-a-day smokers will find themselves £156 a month and £1898 a year better off once they quit.

Those who prefer to smoke rollies will save £480 a year if they smoke 5 a day, £960 a year, for 10 a day and if they smoke 20 a day, an incredible £1921 a day.

Friends and family

By stopping smoking you’ll improve the health of your family and friends by reducing their exposure to second-hand smoke, which carries significant health risks.

Exposure to other people’s smoke raises the risk of lung cancer in non-smokers by 20 to 30% and coronary heart disease by 25 to 35%.

Children are most at risk from the harms of second-hand smoke because their respiratory systems are still developing

Home sweet home

Your home will be a happier and healthier place once you quit smoking. When you smoke in your home, 80% of cigarette smoke is invisible and it lingers around the house for up to 5 hours.

As well as posing a health risk to your family and friends, third hand smoke, the residue left behind after smoking, builds up and stains surfaces and furnishings.

When you smoke in the home, you put the health of your pets at risk.  Second hand smoke can cause breathing problems and even cancer in cats, dogs, birds and fish.

If you’d like to find out more about how to quit smoking this Stoptober contact www.helpmequit.wales or visit the ASH Wales website

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