Common ailments

Stop smoking

I have been smoking since I was 16 years old and now that I am in my forties and a father of two, I desperately want to quit smoking. I have tried quitting many times but it never lasts more than a few months. Where can I get professional help?

Smoking is both a physical addiction and a psychological habit. The nicotine in cigarettes has a ‘feel good’ effect on the brain. Eliminating that regular fix of nicotine will cause your body to experience physical withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Stopping smoking is the single biggest step you can take towards dramatically improving your health and life expectancy and it is great that you really want to quit. The health benefits are endless and after just a year of not smoking, you will have cut your risk of heart attack and heart disease to around half that of a smoker.

It’s a good idea to see your GP who can provide help and advice on quitting and offer treatment. They may recommend Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), such as patches or lozenges, particularly if you’d prefer to cut down before stopping altogether.  

Free advice and support is also available from the NHS Stop Smoking Helpline on 0800 022 4332. Also, the NHS New Leaf City Stop Smoking Service, offers a friendly and confidential service in Nottingham City and runs more than 50 local groups, and drop-in sessions each week. You can self-refer to New Leaf by calling Freephone 0800 561 2121.

Increasing social support while you quit, by stopping with a partner or friend, can also help. You could also try keeping a list in your wallet of all the reasons why you want to stop smoking, or a photograph of your children as a reminder.

In addition, scientific studies have shown that exercise, even just a five minute walk or stretch, can cut cravings and may help your brain produce anti-craving chemicals.

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