It is estimated that just over 12% of Australians over 14 years of age smoke cigarettes daily. On the 11th January 1964, the American Surgeon General announced for the first time that cigarette smoking was definitely linked to serious health issues. We now know that smoking is estimated to cause 20% of the Nation's cancer burden each year. All smokers face an increased risk of up to 16 different types of cancer including lung, mouth, throat, larynx, oesophagus, stomach, bowel, bladder, liver, pancreas, nasal cavity, sinus, cervix, ovary, bladder, kidney, ureter and bone marrow. Many studies have shown that the risk of dying increases with the number of cigarettes smoked, as soon as you quit, there are immediate and long term benefits even if you already suffer from smoking related health problems. It is never too late to quit smoking, but the decision requires some planning:

  1. Write down all the reasons that have made you want to quit and carry it with you to remind you if necessary, eg  to save money, pregnancy, improving health
  2. Find the approach that suits you, some people chose cold turkey and others a more gradual reduction
  3. Get as much support as possible from friends, family and workplace. Quitting with a friend often helps, with the opportunity to discuss feelings, encouragement  and tips
  4. Plan ahead for situations that will cause increased temptation to recommence smoking, such as parties, going out socially and beware of the link between alcohol and smoking
  5. If smoking was a way of taking a break or a rewards, find other ways to achieve this, such as taking a walk, having a cup of tea instead
  6. Throw away cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters, remove all traces associated with smoking
  7. Nicotine replacement may help those who smoke heavily or believe they need extra help, such as nicotine patches, chewing gum or inhalers.  Oral preparations may help withdrawal symptoms or the desire to smoke. Some products are available on the PBS and require a doctor's prescription. All the products are best used for at least 3 months
  8. Set a date to quit
  9. Find ways to cope with cravings - the worst cravings last a few minutes and will reduce over time, taking a deep breath helps relaxation and helps to focus on other things. Having a drink of water helps flush out nicotine and toxins. Distract yourself with a walk, visiting a supportive friend, cleaning your teeth, eating an apple, chew gum or eat a healthy snack
  10. Use the telephone quitline for more advice : 13 78 48 or
  11. Be kind to yourself, most people quit many times before success

If you quit today -

  • Tomorrow: nerve endings will start to regrow, heart rate reduces and finger tips are warmer (an extra $21 in your pocket)
  • In 2 days: nicotine is cleared from your body, hair, breathe and skin smell better (an extra $42 in your pocket)
  • In 1 week: blood pressure stabilises, antioxidants rise in your blood, smell and taste improves (an extra $147 in your pocket)
  • In 2 weeks: blood flow to teeth and gums returns to normal 
  • In 2 months: a smoker's cough should have settled, exercising is easier,
  • In 3 months: blood flow to your extremities will have improved (over $ 2000 in your pocket)
  • In 5 months: immune system improves and wounds heal better
  • In 6 months: lung cilia will have regrown, your mood improves and stress reduces, cough reduces+( an extra $3800 in your pocket)
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