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Smoking cessation health centre

Stop smoking: NHS help


WebMD Medical Reference
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

If you decide to quit smoking, the NHS in England makes it a bit easier by providing a "Quit Kit”. This kit is available from some pharmacies or can be ordered online from NHS Smokefree.

NHS Smokefree says the kit includes practical tools and advice to help you quit. It says 70% of smokers who got a kit tried to stop smoking. The New Year is the most popular time for quitting.

Smoking costs the NHS billions every year and can cost a 20-a-day smoker around £2,000 a year.

What’s in the kit?

The contents of the quit kit do change, for example a trial of NRT patches used to be included. Recent kits have contained:

  • Information on stop smoking medication
  • A "tangle" to keep hands and mind busy
  • A wall-planner and stickers to track your quitting journey
  • A quitting planner which helps smokers assess their habits and offers tips on managing cravings
  • Flash cards that describe what smoking does to your body
  • A willpower booster that assesses addiction levels and offers top tips to boost willpower
  • A health and wealth wheel which shows the benefits of quitting on your health and the money you can save
  • Information on other NHS quitting help

Free mp3s

NHS Smokefree also recommends its "Quit App" for the iPhone and computer desktop widgets which give encouraging tips each day as well as telling you how much money you’ve saved so far.  If you’re about to give in to the craving for a cigarette, it can link you through to the NHS Stop Smoking Helpline.

If you don’t have a smartphone, the tools are also available online at the Smokefree website. This also offers two relaxing mind and body mp3 tracks.

The NHS says the 10-minute recordings have been scientifically proven to reduce the urge to smoke.   

Unused support

Overall, the NHS says you're more likely to quit with its support. However, research shows few people take up the offer.

In 2010, University College London found that fewer than 5% of smokers use the NHS, even though research shows it is four times more effective than other methods.

Rest of the UK

In Scotland, similar NHS help is at hand from Can Stop Smoking: canstopsmoking.com

In Wales, visit Stop Smoking Wales: stopsmokingwales.com

In Northern Ireland, Want2Stop is the place for quitting tips: want2stop.info

Benefits of quitting

NHS Smokefree sets out the health and lifestyle advantages of going through the pain of giving up:

  • Reduce your risk of developing illness, disability or death caused by cancer, heart or lung disease.
  • Reduce your risk of gangrene or amputation caused by circulatory problems.
  • Protect the health of those around you by not exposing them to second-hand smoke.
  • Reduce the chances of your children suffering from asthma or glue ear.
  • Improve your fertility levels and your chance of a healthy pregnancy and baby.
  • Improve your breathing and general fitness.
  • Enjoy the taste of food more.
  • Save money - as much as several hundred pounds a month, if you're a heavy smoker.
  • No longer smell of stale tobacco.
  • Appearance of your skin and teeth will improve. See surprising ways smoking affects your looks and life.
  • Feel more confident in social situations - you won't be worrying about the second-hand smoke you create anymore.
  • As a non-smoker, you may even find you get approached more often by potential new friends and partners when out socialising.
  • Your home will smell fresh
  • You will reduce the risk of fire in your home.
Reviewed on August 01, 2013

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