No Smoking Day: Advice from a smoker, an ex-smoker and a quitting expert
PUBLISHED: 17:28 13 March 2013 | UPDATED: 17:39 13 March 2013
Today is national No Smoking Day, where charity WeQuit encourages smokers to kick the habit once and for all.
Figures from the NHS and Cancer Research UK suggest that one in five people in the UK smoke but the charity, supported by the British Heart Foundation, wants this figure to be reduced even further.
Many have tried, and failed, to quit smoking, yet there are many success stories. Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham and Rainham, smoked for nearly 30 years until quitting a few years ago.
Like many, Mr Cruddas blames peer pressure and a desire to be “one of the lads” as the reasons for picking up the cigarettes. While it wasn’t easy, he is very happy to be clear of the habit and admitted that even one puff could spark the desire again.
“Quitting was very tough. I had given up a number of times and then started again -usually after going for a beer or two with some mates.
“However, I eventually succeeded. It’s been nine years and I’m definitely not going back, and that means not even one as that would start the addiction all over again.
He advised anyone who was trying to quit: “You must keep persevering. It saves a fortune. You will probably live longer and it is healthier and cleaner.”
Cllr Barry Oddy has attempted to give up smoking on a couple of occasions. He took it up on the recommendation of a surgeon, who suggested that it might calm his nerves while in hospital.
Of course, it would be rare to find a doctor prescribing cigarettes today, yet it has left Cllr Oddy with an addiction he would advise against.
He said: “I would say to anyone thinking of starting or quitting - give it up. It will save you a fortune and improve your health. Please don’t follow my example.”
Methods of quitting vary, with different techniques affecting people in different ways.
Patches, inhalers, nicotine gum and simply good old will power are commonly used, but psychology has often been cited as being the key to breaking the habit.
Tina Hill runs Collier Row business Lifestyle Transformation, which provides smokers with therapy to get them off cigarettes for good.
Using hypnosis, Tina delves into the subconscious of her clients to alter the way they think about smoking. Since opening for business 12 years ago, she boasts a 95% success rate for getting people to kick the habit.
For Tina, cigarette addiction is a mental issue rather than a physical one. Her sessions recognise this and she says the key is embedding messages about the dangers of smoking into the mind.
“The session takes away their reliance on smoking and programmes in that if they smoke another cigarette, it will taste really bad.
“It also makes them think of the consequences of smoking, and how they would have to tell their family if they were going to die because of it.”
She admitted that many are afraid of hypnosis due to stage performances, which has made them reluctant to trust the process.
“Some people are scared of it because of stage hypnosis, and think I’ll have them clucking like a chicken!”
Tina herself is no stranger to smoking, having grown up in a house reeking of cigarettes. The experience put her off smoking for life, and her message to those who do smoke or are thinking of taking it up is that it is a very ugly habit.
“Out of the people who come to me, the majority started smoking because of peer pressure. My message to them would be it’s not cool, doesn’t look attractive and doesn’t smell nice – so don’t do it.”
To find out more about No Smoking Day and WeQuit’s campaign, visit www.wequit.co.uk.