The 2007 Lifestyle Survey, issued by the National Statistics Organisation, shows that 33.5 per cent of adult males and 19.4 per cent of adult females smoke in Malta.
With the government beginning to seriously clamp down on smoking in public places, there has never been a better time to quit smoking. It is also the greatest single step you can take to improve your health. Seven out of ten smokers say that they want to stop, but most believe they cannot. However, half of all smokers eventually manage to stop smoking.
What Are The Benefits Of Stopping Smoking?
Smoking claimed the lives of 372 people in Malta in 2009, Social Policy Minister.
The health benefits of stopping smoking start almost immediately:
- 20 minutes: Blood pressure and pulse return to normal;
- 8 hours: Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in the blood are halved, oxygen levels in the blood return to normal;
- 24 hours: Carbon monoxide is eliminated from the body and the lungs start to clear out the build up of tar;
- 48 hours: There is no nicotine left in the body. Taste and smell are greatly improved;
- 72 hours: Breathing becomes easier, bronchial tubes begin to relax, energy levels increase;
- 2 – 12 weeks: Circulation improves, making walking and running a lot easier;
- 3 – 9 months: Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as the lungs have room for up to 10% more oxygen;
- 1 year: Risk of heart attack is halved;
- 10 years: Risk of lung cancer is halved;
- 10 years: Risk of heart attack is at the same level as non-smokers;
- Medium to long-term: Stopping smoking at any age increases your life expectancy, provided that you stop before the onset of serious disease.
Even if you have developed a disease, you can benefit from stopping as your body will be under less strain and be able to fight it more easily.
Where Can I Get Help To Quit Smoking?
Individual counselling, or group sessions, can be a good way to help you give up smoking. You will receive useful, practical advice, such as tips on beating cravings, choosing the right day to give up and what nicotine replacement therapies are available.
You may also find that joining a group provides you with extra encouragement to quit smoking because you can share your experiences with others who are also trying to give up. Getting advice from a trained professional such as a pharmacist or GP can also greatly increase your chances of stopping smoking.
Brown’s Pharmacy’s Top Tips For Giving Up Smoking
- Be ready to quit, think about why you started smoking and why you want to stop – write down the benefits of giving up;
- Choose a quit date, choose a time when you know you are less likely to be stressed and when there is less likelihood of you being tempted to have a cigarette;
- Involve your family or friends – get them to help and support you;
- Speak to your pharmacist, GP or other healthcare professional for advice on ways to help giving up;
- If you do not succeed first time – try again when you are ready.