The last year has been difficult for many of us. Stress and concern about our health is on the rise. For smokers this has pulled them in two directions.
On the one hand, the chances of smokers successfully quitting are as high as they’ve ever been. On the other, smokers experiencing stress and mental distress are more likely to be smoking more.
This No Smoking Day we want to take the opportunity to inform smokers that quitting can be less stressful than they fear and can ultimately improve their sense of wellbeing. All of us have less control over our lives than we’d like at the moment, but smokers can take some positive control on No Smoking Day.
It is also an ideal opportunity to remind smoking households of the thought-provoking image that is being used by the Black Country and West Birmingham Local Neonatal and Maternity System (LMNS) aimed at encouraging them to quit for the sake of the babies and children who share their homes.
At first glance, it appears to be a cute image of the kind of gift basket seen in baby showers up down the country. But a closer inspection of the “newborn essentials” reveals a needle, antibiotics and other medical items that no new parent would surely expect to receive alongside their little bundle of joy.
Esther Higdon, Senior Programme Development and Commissioning Manager Walsall Public Health, said: “Our campaign aims to get people thinking more about the actions they can take before baby arrives to protect the baby and hopefully avoid health complications and problems when they are born.
“We are showing some of the medical items likely to be needed when a baby is born into a smoking household such as the giving set – a tube attached to a needle for blood transfusions or fluids, the Volumatic device and inhaler as babies of smokers, or babies exposed to second hand smoke are more likely to need oxygen and develop asthma or bronchitis.
“We took the image of a baby gift hamper or baby shower, a typically happy occasion, to try and show that instead of a cause for celebration the focus is more likely to be on baby’s health issues if they have been exposed to smoke. We hope this will strike a chord with any smokers in the same household as a pregnant women, as well as any mums-to be who smoke.
“We want to use the image as a talking point with the women who are supported by our maternity services and they can take a leaflet home to share with their partners, grandparents-to-be or others in the household who smoke. Support is available for those who want to quit.”
Walsall Health in Pregnancy Service is supporting #TodayIsTheDay as part of #NoSmokingDay. Make today the day for taking that first step on your quit journey, visit www.nhs.uk/smokefree
What happens when you quit?
The sooner you quit, the sooner you’ll notice changes to your body and health. Look at what happens when you quit for good:
- After 20 mins – Check your pulse rate, it will already be starting to return to normal
- After 8 hours – Your oxygen levels are recovering, and the harmful carbon monoxide level in your blood will have reduced by half
- After 48 hours – All carbon monoxide is flushed out. Your lungs are cleaning out mucus and your senses of taste and smell are improving
- After 72 hours – If you notice that breathing feels easier, it’s because your bronchial tubes have started to relax. Also, your energy will be increasing
- After 2 to 12 weeks – Blood will be pumping through to your heart and muscles much better because your circulation will have improved
- After 3 to 9 months – Any coughs, wheezing or breathing problems will be improving as you lung function increases by up to 10%
- After 1 year – Great news! Your risk of heart attack will have halved compared with a smoker’s
Stopping smoking not only improves your physical health but also is proven to boost your mental health and wellbeing. Quitting can also improve mood, and help relieve stress, anxiety and depression.
There has never been a more important time look after your mental and physical health. Stopping smoking has immediate benefits to your physical health and long term will significantly reduce your chances of developing many illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, COPD, stroke and cancer. While quitting can feel stressful in the short term new research shows that many ex-smokers mental health improves six weeks after quitting. Today is the day to stop smoking.
- Get daily email support – if you would like some extra support, you can sign up for 28 days of stop smoking advice and tips – delivered straight to your inbox. Click here to sign up for email support
- Find your online community – You do not have to do it alone – join others going through the same thing in a friendly and supportive environment. Click here to join the Quit Smoking Support Group on Facebook.
- Want to talk to someone? – Call the free National Smokefree Helpline on 0300 123 1044. Talk to a trained advisor for advice and support.
Monday to Friday: 9am – 8pm
Saturday & Sunday: 11am – 4pm