There are many good reasons to stop smoking. Most people know that smoking is bad for their physical health. Stopping smoking can help to reduce your risk of developing cancer and heart disease, help you breathe more easily and give you more energy. You may also be worried about how much money it costs or be concerned about how it's affecting your family's health.
Smoking can also have a negative effect on your emotional wellbeing. This section can help you understand more about the link between mental health and smoking and help you find support in Leeds if you want to stop.
What you will learn in this section:
How does smoking affect my mood?
Many people think that smoking helps them to relax and 'calms their nerves' but the reality is that smoking actually increases anxiety and low moods.
This is because there's an addictive chemical in cigarettes called nicotine. When the nicotine in your body drops to a certain level you will begin to crave a cigarette. The cravings cause a feeling of 'stress' until you smoke another cigarette and the nicotine level rise again.
Someone craving a cigarette is likely to feel anxious or irritable. When these feelings are temporarily reduced by smoking, they can think it's the cigarette that's improved their mood. While in reality, it's the nicotine addiction that may have caused the feelings of stress in the first place.
Many people who stop find they feel less stressed compared to people who keep smoking. People who stop often find they can concentrate better too, because they have higher levels of oxygen in their bodies.
So, as well as having great benefits for our physical health, stopping smoking can reduce stress and help us feel better as well.
What’s the best way to stop smoking?
There's no right or wrong way to stop smoking, but some methods have shown to be better than others.
The most effective way to stop smoking is to use a stop smoking service, which will provide you with free expert advice and guidance for the first few months of stopping. Evidence shows that people who use a stop smoking service are four times more likely to quit for good compared to people that go it alone.
Using a stop smoking treatment like nicotine patches or Varenicline (Champix), which is available only on prescription, has shown to double the chances of stopping smoking for good. Also e-cigarettes have been shown to be similarly as effective and are very popular with smokers and ex-smokers. They are not completely risk free but are at least 95% less harmful compared to cigarettes.
The most common but least effective way of trying to stop is going it alone or going “cold turkey" as it's often described. Some people do succeed using just this method, but the majority of people often relapse at some point.
What support is available in Leeds?
One You Leeds offers a service to anyone in Leeds, including pregnant women, who would like to stop smoking. Their advisers use a range of methods which can help you quit. They can give you information and advice as well as specialist support during the first few months of stopping smoking.
You can contact the service via the website One You Leeds or call them on 0800 169 4219 to make an appointment.
You can also talk to your GP to find out more about different ways of stopping smoking.
Is it harder to stop smoking if I have a mental health problem?
Many people who are having problems with their mental health really want to stop smoking, but sometimes think that it's going to be too hard. This isn't true, however, as people with mental health problems are able to stop smoking with the right support and find a wide range of benefits.
The unpleasant feelings you might feel when cutting out cigarettes can be managed in a number of different ways. Your GP or the One You Leeds service will be able to help you find out more about these.
How can I make changes and cut down or stop smoking?
If you want to make changes by cutting down or stopping smoking, but don't know where to start, you might find using our Positive Change Plan is helpful. You can use the Plan to make changes gradually. You can set goals, create ideas to achieve your goals, plan the steps you want to take and review how you're doing.
One You Leeds - offers a free service open to anyone in Leeds, including pregnant women, who would like to stop smoking.
In addition to stop smoking services there's a variety of online advice and guidance that you could access. You can find out more about treatments for stopping smoking on the NHS Choices website.
Tools and apps
NHS Choices has lots of useful information about stopping smoking, including how services help you, preventing relapse and answers to commonly asked questions.
NHS Smokefree has information about quitting smoking, including tips, advice and online support.
NHS Choices also has information about mental health and stopping smoking.