Tag Archives: smoke-free zones

Ready for the Smoking Ban? (UK)

Soon there will be no hiding place for smokers with a smoking ban in public places in England in force from 1 July.

However, despite the majority of smokers saying they would like to quit, many of them are still unsure what the ban will entail. We look at the impact the ban will have and find out the best ways of quitting.

Smokers, now so often forced to huddle outside offices and homes, will find even less places where their habit’s welcome from July 1.

That’s when the English public smoking ban comes into effect, banning smokers from having a drag in pubs, cafes, clubs and restaurants and a host of other places that will become smoke-free zones.

The ban already exists in Scotland and Wales and making it UK wide is predicted, by the Department of Health, to provoke up to 600,000 people to attempt quitting for good. There are many ways of quitting a habit that’s getting harder and harder to enjoy.

Millions more would like to join them – at least 70% of the UK’s 12 million smokers would like to kick the habit – but are daunted by the difficulty of kicking the weed.

Click for > Methods for quitting

Smokers need support to succeed according to Jennifer Percival, head of the Royal College of Nursing Tobacco Education project and author of You Can Stop Smoking, a self-help guide to overcoming the habit. She says: “Smoking is extremely difficult to give up and people shouldn’t feel bad about themselves or failures if they struggle with it.

Smoking Ban Cartoon“Nicotine is as addictive as heroin or cocaine, and so the cycle of addiction can be difficult to break. Most people try five or six times to quit before they succeed.”

From MSN Money: how the ban won’t kill the pub trade

Percival points out that those using nicotine replacement therapy products – such as patches, gum, or inhalators which mimic cigarettes – and getting support, are four times more likely to quit than those simply going cold turkey.

She says: “Nicotine replacement therapy is no magic cure but combined with willpower and support maybe from a group or even a sympathetic friend it can significantly help you overcome your desire to smoke.”

Nicotine and withdrawal symptoms

Percival also counters the two major reasons people give for smoking – that it aids concentration and helps reduce stress. “The reality is that smokers experience higher levels of stress than non-smokers. After stopping, the level of stress in ex-smokers drops noticeably.

“And although many people believe smoking helps them clear their thoughts and concentrate, research shows that nicotine does not enhance a smoker’s performance level above that of a non-smoker’s.”

Medicines to help you quit

Reasons to Quit Smoking

  • According to the British Heart Foundation, one in five people will die from smoking and annually there are 114,000 deaths of smokers in the UK.
  • Over the past 50 years smoking has killed 6.3 million Britons – the equivalent of the population of London.
  • Most risks from smoking come with the first few cigarettes of the day. Just one cigarette triples the risk of lung cancer, while a five-a-day habit increases a woman’s risk of dying of lung cancer fivefold.
  • It’s worth quitting. Within 10 to 15 years of giving up smoking, an ex-smoker’s risk of developing lung cancer is only slightly greater than that of a non-smoker, according to statistics from ASH.
  • If you ditch a 20-a-day habit you’ll now find an extra £35.50 in your wallet every week, which adds up to £152 a month or £1,825 a year.

What you gain when you quit

What type of smoker are you?

  • Light smokers have fewer than 10 cigarettes a day, or only smoke in certain situations – while socializing or when stressed.
  • Heavy Smokers light up more than 15 to 20 times a day and see smoking as an integral part of life.

Test: are you addicted to nicotine?

What Can I Do?

  • Check out the condition of your lungs, it could boost your desire to stop!
  • Take a free ‘smokelyser’ test at Boots to measure the level of carbon monoxide in your lungs. Carbon monoxide thickens and clots blood, which can cause a heart attack or stroke. Test three months after quitting to see the difference.
  • Boots also offers, from June 20, a free lung age test, measuring the ‘real’ age of lungs.
  • Set a quit date and prepare for it by getting guidance on how to give up. Visit your GP, or visit the NHS website: http://www.nhs.uk/smokefree. Seek advice from helplines such as NHS Stop Smoking Service: 0800 169 0169 or the Quitline: 0800 00 22 00.
  • Boots, alongside charity Quit, offers a personalised quitting plan, with the charity’s stop smoking counsellors giving further support.

The phases of quitting

What Can Help?

Nicotine patches as a once-a-day solution are most suitable for smokers who have a regular pattern of smoking. They release a steady dose of nicotine into the bloodstream via the skin. They come in three strengths to allow users to reduce the dose when they’re ready. “In general, people who smoke 10 cigarettes or more a day should start with the highest dose patch,” Percival says. A week’s supply costs around £15, but they may be available on prescription.
Nicotine nasal spray is the strongest form of NRT available. “It’s especially suitable for heavy and highly addicted smokers as it is absorbed faster than any other NRT”, Percival explains. It’s recommended for those who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day or light up within 30 minutes of waking. It costs around £21 for one spray.

The social and psychological influences

Nicotine gum “lets you control your nicotine dose yourself”, Percival says. It comes in two strengths,the 2mg gum for those who smoke 20 cigarettes or fewer a day, and 4mg for those who smoke more than 20 a day. Most people use 10-15 pieces of gum daily for at least the first 12 weeks. A pack of 24 costs around £4.

A new therapy, IQS (I Quit Smoking) from America, has just launched in the UK, and involves having electrical stimulation applied to the earlobe. It’s claimed this releases endorphins that help reduce nicotine cravings.

Top tips for quitting

It’s aimed at those who smoke over 15 cigarettes a day, and have smoked for over eight years. It costs £399 and includes four treatment sessions, and six months helpline/follow up support at five London clinics, with another opening shortly in Birmingham. IQS also offers a money back guarantee if the treatment fails to work over six months. For more information call 0800 107 5877 or visit www.iqs.uk.com

Nicotine microtab is a small white tablet that dissolves allowing the mouth to absorb the nicotine. It should be taken for 12 weeks. It’s around £16 for a pack of 100 tablets.

How to keep your weight down when you quit

Nicotine inhalators are plastic devices shaped like a cigarette with a nicotine cartridge fitted into it. “It’s held like a cigarette so it’s suitable for people who miss the habit of holding and handling a cigarette,” Percival says. It’s around £6 for a starter pack.

How to Avoid Temptation

  • Keep busy, go for a walk or start a new project.
  • Change your routine, and avoid shops where you usually bought cigarettes.
  • Research shows that you are four times more likely to quit if you let people around you know and gain their support.
  • Wear a commitment ring, which costs £1 from Boots and proceeds go to the Quit charity.
  • When your desire for a cigarette is intense, clean your teeth or wash your hands to reinforce how pleasant it is not to smell of smoke.
  • If you miss having something in your mouth, try a toothpick, carrot and celery sticks.
  • Never allow yourself to think that ‘one won’t hurt’ – it will. It’s the slippery slope.

You Can Stop Smoking, by Jennifer Percival, is published by Virgin Books, priced £10. Out now.

By Gabrielle Fagan

Get Fit and Kick the Habit

Make the most of the national smoking ban on Monday by swapping cigarettes for exercise, says Philip Carling of the Sports Council for Wales

THE ban on smoking will revolutionize the very face of Wales’ public indoor spaces, transforming them into healthier, smoke-free zones as the last cigarettes are stubbed out in nightclubs, restaurants, and pub ash-trays from Angelsey to Monmouthshire.

Smokers can take the ban more personally by making a pledge to integrate 30 minutes physical activity five times a week into their lifestyle, even if they are not intending to stub out the habit for good. It’s all part of Health Challenge Wales.

The message that ‘smoking is bad for you’ is so old now that people have stopped giving it their full attention. Instead I would urge adults to consider that physical activity has profound benefits and can only enhance your well being, regardless of whether you smoke.

Woman on Treadmill PictureThe pub smoking ban offers a perfect opportunity for smokers to adopt a healthier more active lifestyle. If, like many smokers throughout Wales, you’re dreading its onset, now is the time to start putting the benefits of physical activity into practice. It has been proven that exercise is one of the best ways to help smokers kick the habit, and by stopping you are benefiting the health of the nation.

Research shows that smoking kills around 114,000 people in the UK each year owing to smoking related cancers, cardiovascular and lung disease, or high blood pressure leading to heart attacks and stroke. Exercise reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, lowers the chance of lung cancer, boosts circulation and helps maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Exercise is a vital tool in your successful quitting kit, and you don’t have to spend money buying it from the supermarket shelf. Aside from improving physical ability and appearance, physical activity provides fun, focus and fitness which are more likely to help you stub out the habit for good, not just for two weeks.

What exercise can do for you

1. Naturally increases metabolism
According to the National Centre for Health Statistics, nicotine artificially raises your metabolic rate (the amount of calories you burn within a 24-hour period) by 20%. So when you quit, your metabolism returns to what it really should be.

Getting firmer, stronger muscles by doing regular physical activity like cycling and walking is a much healthier way of increasing your metabolic rate.

2. Controls weight gain
One of the scariest things about quitting smoking is the fear of gaining weight. A slower metabolism after quitting, combined with an improvement in taste and smell, a tendency to substitute food for cigarettes and emotional eating to relieve the stress of quitting can all result in weight gain of anywhere between 5-10lbs for the average smoker.

The combination of eating more calories while burning less means that regular physical activity is crucial. Aerobic exercise like walking, cycling, swimming or dancing for 30 minutes a day at a low-intensity will burn anything between 100-300 calories depending on the intensity and duration of your exercise.

Smokers who philosophize that smoking keeps them slim may also need to consider that nicotine causes body fat to be distributed to the upper body and abdominal area or in an “apple” shape – which is linked with a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and early death.

3. Suppresses appetite
Stub out cigarettes and you can guarantee human nature will have you automatically reaching for the biscuit tin instead. Just like your regular rugby match, kicking a habit is always a game of substitution. But exercise is a natural way to temporarily suppress appetite because it regulates sugar levels in your blood. This in turn reduces the cravings for sweets and junk foods which we might bring onto the pitch to replace cigarettes.

4. Offers relief from nicotine cravings
Take a 10-minute brisk walk every time the nicotine cravings come calling, and fitness levels will soon be soaring. Physical activity can help take the ‘edge’ off nicotine cravings by bringing temporary relief until they pass.

Exercise improves blood circulation, so just a ten-minute walk can produce chemical endorphins in the brain which create a sense of well-being – the same ‘buzz’ smokers get from filling their lungs with smoke.

Regular physical activity is also a cheaper and more maintainable way of curbing the cravings for those who don’t want to use nicotine replacement therapy.

5. Curbs boredom
Boredom is one of the biggest barriers to quitting smoking. You can predict the routine now – arrive home after a hard day; slump into the sofa; stick the telly on and already your mind is wandering towards the ash tray as you gradually lose the fight to keep your hands occupied.

A cycle through the park or to the shops where there are things to look at, an exercise class where there are people to meet, or just a mind-challenging mountain-stroll at the weekend will help keep your mind away from the cigarettes. Don’t let boredom beat you down. Physical activity and sport can be a hobby, offering a fresh focus to get your teeth stuck into – without wasting your time whiling the hours away in frustration.

6. Relieves anxiety and stress
If you have ever tried to quit or know someone who is in the process, you’ll know that grouchiness, anxiety and depression are lurking nearby like an unwanted guest. Exercise is a proven mood lifter and anxiety reliever so you can banish any late-night desires to creep out the back door and light-up after a tough day.

Mood swings are a common temporary side effect of kicking any habit, but they can be used to fuel your physical goals. Vent your frustration at kick-boxing, whack out your woes with a tennis ball, or release tension with a gentle session of yoga or pilates.

7. Fuels a revitalising sleep
People who exercise regularly have fewer episodes of sleeplessness – a common side-effect of quitting. The temptation to light up is probably at its strongest after a heavy day when we are tired, so a more sufficient sleep may help stop the hands from reaching for the cigarettes simply because the body needs a boost.

Moderate exercise lasting 20-30 minutes five times a week promotes a more revitalising sleep because it is a physical stressor to the body. The brain compensates for physical stress by increasing deep sleep and so we sleep more soundly.

8. Promotes a buzzing social life
Lots of smokers argue that their social life will be affected if they quit. Getting involved in sport and physical activity is one of the most enjoyable ways to socialise – whether going for walks with the family, taking the kids for a kick-about or giving Grandma some company to the shops. Join a club, try out a gym class – talk to the regulars at your local swimming pool. The friends you make through sport and physical activity might just be your friends for life.

More importantly, swapping bad breath, sallow skin and yellow teeth for a healthier body image is crucial to fostering confidence and a positive mental attitude. Physical activity burns fat and boosts circulation, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to the skin so that it is firmer and better nourished – good news since smoking can leave the skin up to 40% thinner. People who are physically fit not only look good, but feel good too.

9. Cuts huffing and puffing
Physical activity strengthens your heart and lungs while improving circulation so there is to be no more humiliating huffing and puffing as you climb the stairs behind your colleagues.

Lots of people mistakenly think exercise will make them tired, but – at the appropriate intensity and duration for your current fitness level – it will actually invigorate you and make you more energetic.

10. Slows lung decline
Studies suggest that smokers who exercise are at a 35% lower risk of developing lung cancer than those who don’t exercise. But, not surprisingly, smokers often complain of breathing difficulty and muscle fatigue during exercise and hence avoid it at all costs. Physical activity does not improve lung function but will slow its decline by strengthening the limb muscles and respiratory system. It enables more oxygen to practice getting to the vital muscles, thus gradually improving endurance and reducing breathlessness.

Philip Carling is chairman of the Sports Council for Wales.

Source: This article© owned by or licensed to Western Mail & Echo Limited 2007
It is a trade mark of Western Mail & Echo Limited.