Quitting has immediate and long term benefits. It’s never too late to stop smoking. It has even been proven that lung cancer patients who quit smoking have better treatment outcomes than those who continue to smoke.
Long term benefits
- Improved health status.
- Decreased signs and symptoms of respiratory disease.
- Increased life expectancy.
- Reduced risk of developing smoking-related diseases.
- Reduced risk of a low birthweight child in women who stop smoking within the first 3 months of pregnancy.
Withdrawal symptoms include irritation, anger, insomnia, concentration difficulties, anxiety, restlessness, dysphonia, decreased heart rate, performance deficits, cravings and headaches.
Motivation to quit varies greatly between countries and areas, due to different social and cultural climates.
In Europe, motivation to quit varies from 80% of smokers in Sweden to less than 40% in Italy.
Quit or reduce
Although many smokers want to quit eventually, only 12% of European smokers and 8% of US smokers want to stop in the next 30 days.
If a smoker is ready to give up they can be helped with therapy.
In addition, smoking reduction (also called harm reduction) is another alternative in smokers who are not ready or able to quit.
The chances of succeeding in giving up are 1 in 20. However, if given the best possible treatment this can rise to 1 in 4.
Therapy is based on drugs, such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), and behavioural approaches.
A smoker can quit without help but it is much more difficult, and long-term abstinence is higher when the attempt is aided medically.