Approximately 6.9 million people over the age of 18 are smokers. Smoking harms almost all organs in the body, including your heart and blood vessels, increasing your risk of having a heart attack.
Quitting smoking can be extremely difficult, but it is an important step in reducing your risk of heart disease. We provide some tips to help you stop smoking.
Decide when to stop and make a plan
The sooner you decide to quit smoking, the better. Choose a date within the next two weeks.
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If you leave it too long, you will give yourself time to change your mind. Identify triggers that make you want to smoke and work out how you will overcome them in advance. For example, if you usually smoke during your break at work, plan to go for a walk instead.
Notify friends and family of your intention to stop smoking and ask for their support.
Manage your cravings
Cigarette cravings are intense urges to smoke and they can last for five minutes. Quitting smoking requires a huge amount of willpower.
When you get a craving, try to distract yourself for 5-10 minutes until it passes. You could try planning a healthy dinner or plan a route for a cycle ride or a walk.
Once the craving has passed, you can give yourself a pat on the back.
Getting support to stop smoking can increase your chances of success. You could try contacting your local Stop Smoking Services or chatting to your GP.
You could also seek advice from a friend or family member who has successfully stopped smoking, or from someone who is also trying to quit.
Perhaps consider using a stop smoking aid, such as nicotine patches, gums, lozenges or nasal sprays to help stop the cravings.
As well as reducing your risk of developing serious diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, quitting smoking can also help to improve your mental wellbeing. Why not reduce your risk by choosing a date to quit smoking today?
For more tips on how to stay healthy, sign up for the weekly healthy tips at www.heartresearch.org.uk/healthy-tips
To help keep your heart healthy, why not try out some of our Healthy Heart recipes from the heartresearch.org.uk/heart-research-uk-recipes-2 website.
Or have a look through the Healthy Heart cookbook filled with recipes from top chefs, celebrities and food bloggers at heartresearch.org.uk/heart-research-uk-cookbook/
Heart Research UK is the charity dedicated to your heart.
The charity inspires and invests in pioneering medical research, ground-breaking training and education, and in communities to improve their heart health for themselves.
In the past 10 years, Heart Research UK has funded over £10.2m in medical research in hospitals and universities across the UK, as well as £2.2m on innovative community-based lifestyle projects to improve the heart health of the nation.
Visit www.heartresearch.org.uk to find out more about the charity’s work.