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Committing to a Healthier Lifestyle
By Julia Robson   View more articles by this author
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September 2

The choices we make about how we live our lives can have a significant impact on our health, wealth and happiness both today and in the future. Eating well, taking regular exercise, not smoking and not drinking too much alcohol can all help you stay well and enjoy life.

Giving up smoking is the best thing you can do to improve your health as smoking is responsible for nearly one in five of all deaths in the UK, killing about 110,000 people a year. Smokers are almost twice as likely to have a heart attack as those who have never smoked and smoking increases your risk of developing many cancers and lung diseases. The best news is that you are never too old or too young to make a change to a healthier lifestyle.

Stoptober is just around the corner as well, so there is no better time.

Quitting smoking will give you:


  • - Better breathing. People cough less and breathe easier when they stop smoking as their lung capacity improves by up to 10% within nine months. For an elderly person, this can mean the difference between getting out of the house to meet friends - or not.
  • - Longer life. Half of long term smokers die early from smoking related diseases. Quitting adds years to your life but also gives you healthier years, disease free and mobile.
  • - Less Stress. Studies show smokers are more stressed than non-smokers. Smoking only relieves nicotine withdrawal symptoms that seem like stress so the relaxed feeling you get is just temporary.
  • - Improve your sex life as giving up smoking improves blood flow to all parts of your body. Non-smokers are also three times more attractive to prospective partners than smokers.
  • - Improved fertility as quitting smoking improves the condition of the womb and the potency of sperm. Non-smokers also have lower risk of miscarriage.
  • - Younger looking skin. Stopping smoking slows facial aging and delays appearance of wrinkles. More energy. Within 12 weeks of quitting, your blood moves better and this makes all physical activity easier. Quitting also boosts immunity to disease so you get less colds and flu. More oxygen also leaves ex-smokers less tired.
  • - Healthier loved ones. By stopping smoking you protect the health of your family. Passive smoking increases non-smokers risks of diseases too. Children of smokers have many more hospital admissions than those of non-smokers. They are also more likely to start smoking themselves.


Quitting smoking

You are up to four times more likely to quit smoking with support from an NHS stop smoking adviser. They provide free, non-judgemental, accurate information and advice through regular weekly support at convenient venues or possibly over the phone. They also help you to access licenced, safe medication to help make quitting easier. If you are not sure what to do or even if you want to quit yet, you can talk it through without having to commit.

It is very likely that you have tried to quit several times before you read this! If you are quitting, don’t expect to relapse but it is not unusual to have a few goes before becoming smokefree. Cigarettes are very addictive and habit forming but don’t get put off trying again. Learn from what went wrong, don’t be too hard on yourself and you will be more likely to succeed next time.

Stoptober is a great time to give it a go!

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