Morecambe has changed. There’s something in the air. There’s the smell of fish and chips (with lots of salt and vinegar on the promenade), there’s the sound of the seagulls attacking children for their fish and chips, and there’s a clear lack of smoke – well inside bars, cafes and restaurants that is.
The smoking ban across the UK in 2007 almost overnight improved the health of a nation. Couple that with the ever-increasing tax on cigarettes and it makes a pretty compelling case for giving up smoking or never starting in the first place.
The problem lies in trying to give up. Now this assumes that a smoker really wants to give up and is finding it difficult. There are plenty of smokers who say they don’t want to give up too. I’m not sure if this is because they are worried about failure, unaware of all the health risks or simply stubborn and don’t want to be told what to do.
The truth is, while endangering their own health is one thing, smokers also have a moral obligation to protect people around them from the danger of second hand smoke. In cases where they have children, smokers should consider the unsavoury thought of what effect any related illness they get would have on the upbringing of the child.
For smokers who want to quit, Mark Twain has some advice, “It’s easy to quit smoking; I’ve done it hundreds of times.”
After doing some research myself I came across a common theme that may prove more useful than Mark Twain’s advice – the theme is that there seems to be five important elements of any quit smoking plan.
- If severely addicted, use nicotine replacement products (like gum/patches) to gradually reduce your body’s exposure.
- Seek advice and support from loved ones, people who have been successful at quitting and from your doctor. Having a mentor can really help keep you going especially at your times of weakness.
- Identify the triggers and your moments of weakness where relapsing seems likely. Next, develop strategies/contingencies to deal with these situations. A strategy could be to write in a journal and write why it’s important to you to give up at the time when you are feeling weak. Or you could chew a lollypop or call your granddaughter.
- Measure and record your success. If you don’t record how many you are smoking and reducing (or for how many days you haven’t smoked) then how can you truly know how successful you’ve been?
- Read the health reports about how smoking damages your health. Look at the images of diseased gums, lungs and of amputated fingers etc. Read the reports on the risks including heart attacks and strokes.
Morecambe is a healthier place with fewer smokers and you can be a healthier person if you set your mind to it and make the first step in quitting smoking. Why not do it today?
Photo Credit: sk8geek