Smoking Cessation

It’s never too late to invest in your health

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to improve your health and overall quality of life. No matter what age you are or how long you have been smoking it is never too late to quit. Stopping smoking is inevitably going to be a challenge but it is one that will reap wonderful rewards for overall well being. Once you have set your goal and successfully give up the cigarettes you will feel a great sense of personal achievement.

What are the effects of smoking? (click to close)

Smoking is an important risk factor for six of the world’s eight leading causes of death and it is responsible for about 1 in 10 adult deaths. Tobacco smoke contains over 4000 chemicals including tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, ammonia and arsenic.

Smoking increases your chances of developing heart disease or cancer.

  • Carbon monoxide robs your body tissues of oxygen making your whole body especially your heart work harder. The increased stress on your heart raises the risk of heart disease.
  • Tar is made up of many different substances some of which are carcinogens, cancer causing substances.

Smoking is addictive

Nicotine is the substance responsible for the addictive properties of cigarettes. It causes physical dependence and tolerance. In the absence of nicotine, a smoker develops cravings for cigarettes and symptoms of nicotine withdrawal syndrome which include:

  • Low mood
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability, frustration, or anger
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Restlessness
  • Increased appetite

Addiction to cigarettes, however, is more complex than the addictive nature of nicotine. Associating cigarettes with pleasurable activities such as enjoying your morning coffee, an alcoholic drink, or the end of a meal, reinforces your addiction. These pleasurable daily activities then become triggers and contribute to the difficulty quitting. Don’t despair, there are ways to overcome these barriers.

Your smoking can also harm others

  • Second hand smoke contains the same harmful chemicals as the smoke you are inhaling. If you are smoking around others they are also breathing in the poisonous substances. This is especially harmful in children who live in the houses of smokers.

What are the benefits of quitting? (click to close)

Research survey SLAN 07 (National Survey of Lifestyle, Attitudes and Nutrition) found that 23% of men and 16% of women in Ireland have quit smoking. According to these promising statistics numerous deaths and disease will most likely be avoided. Talk to your Haven Pharmacist to find the support you need to stop smoking for good.

Try out the Haven Pharmacy stop smoking plan

Decide to quit

  • Write down all the reasons why you want to quit so you have a record of all reasons – which you can refer to in moments of weakness

Make a date

  • Pick a date you feel you will be relaxed and focused on quitting then stick to it
  • Throw out all your cigarettes – including any emergency supplies
  • Remember that quitting outright has been shown to be more effective than cutting down gradually

Talk to your support system

  • Friends and family can offer wonderful encouragement when trying to quit
  • Call the National Smokers’ Quitline on 1850 201 203 for advice and support.
  • Talk to your Haven Pharmacist for advice

Avoid your triggers and temptations

  • Know your trigger situations and prepare in advance.
  • For example if you enjoy a cigarette with a drink try avoiding alcohol for a while untilyou are more confident about your non smoker status.

Learn how to coping with cravings

  • Cravings can occur frequently in the first week of quitting
  • Remember craving intensify over 3-5 minutes then subside
  • Do the four D’s recommended by the Irish Cancer Society: Delay acting on the urge to smoke, Deep breathe, Drink some water and Do something else

Make positive lifestyle choices

  • Increase your level of exercise as this helps improve mood and manages your weight
  • Avoid snacking on sweets instead of smoking, instead choose healthy snacks like fruit and nuts

Stay positive

  • In moments of weakness remember why you are quitting and believe in the strength of your will power

Reward yourself

  • Each week put away the money you would have spent on cigarettes and buy yourself something as a treat instead

Take each day at a time

While the long term effects of smoking will reduce your risk of developing cancer and heart disease, there are other more immediate benefits

Within 2 hours

  • the nicotine is out of your system however the by-products may take longer to leave

Within 8 hours

  • your oxygen levels return to normal

Within 24 hours

  • the carbon monoxide is cleared from your body

Within 48 hours

  • your taste buds and sense of smell begin to improve

Within 2 weeks

  • the mucous buid up in your lungs begins to loosen and you can cough it up

Within 2 months

  • the blood flow to your hands and feet improves

After 12 months

  • your risk of heart attack is reduced by 50%

What kind of treatments are available? (click to close)

The aim of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is to temporarily replace much of the nicotine obtained from cigarettes. This will reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms and their association with smoking cigarettes allowing for an easier transition to being cigarette free.

Ask your Haven Pharmacist which of the following NRT treatments will work best for you:

  • Transdermal nicotine patch
  • Nicotine gum
  • Nicotine lozenge
  • Nicotine inhaler
  • Nicotine oromucosal spray

Remember to tell your pharmacist if you are pregnant or breast feeding

Find out more about stopping smoking from your local Haven Pharmacist.