Each year, 31 May is World No Tobacco Day and is a good opportunity to review your smoking habit.
It's never too late to quit smoking!
Quitting smoking is the single most important thing you can do for your health. Half of all long-term smokers are killed by their habit.
Most of the damage from tobacco can be avoided if the habit is ceased by the age of 40, but more damage is done for every year you smoke after that. However, it’s never too late to quit!
The reality is that you probably can’t do it on your own. Less than 1 in 20 attempts to quit without help are successful, usually because of nicotine addiction. Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances known.
Get some professional assistance for your next quit attempt, such as:
· Your GP or pharmacist. Their advice and support can greatly increase your chance of success.
· Quitline (Tel 137 848 Australia-wide). Research has shown that Quitline works. Trained smoking counsellors can assist and support you by phone through the quitting process. Quitline is a free service.
Some smoking clinics can also help. However, hypnosis, laser and acupuncture have not been proven to be effective and are not recommended. There is also no scientific evidence for the Allen Carr Easyway method.
Medication for everyone
Smoking experts now advise all quitters who are addicted to nicotine (about 80% of smokers) to use medication. Medication reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability and anxiety, and can double or triple success rates.
There are 3 proven medications available:
· Nicotine replacement therapy. Patch, gum, lozenge and inhaler are available over-the-counter. Nicotine patches are much more effective if started 2 weeks before quit day.
· Varenicline (Champix). Prescription only.
· Bupropion (Zyban SR, Prexaton, Clorpax). Prescription only.
Don’t be discouraged by past failures. They do not mean you can’t do it. It is normal to try several times before finally quitting long-term. In fact, each time you try, you learn something about your habit and build your motivation and are more likely to succeed next time.
Speak to your doctor for more information or visit the following websites:
World Health Organisation World No Tobacco Day site
Please note this information was correct at time of printing.
For up to date information, speak to your doctor.