Smokers are constantly told that quitting cigarettes is one of the best things you will ever do for your health, but we still continue to do so.

Yes, I'm a smoker and have been for about 12 years. I've never really tried to quit.

With Stoptober just around the corner, I think I'm going to finally give quitting a good go, if at least just for the month.

Stoptober – now in its 12th year – aims to empower people to give up smoking during October, as evidence shows people are 5 times more likely to quit for good if they can make it to at least 28 days smoke-free.

It encourages smokers to stub out the habit during the month by raising awareness of what smoking can do to a body and also provides support.

What does smoking do to a body?

You'll look better as more oxygen will be getting to your skin, making it brighter, and your teeth will no longer be getting stained with tar.

Reduced risks of smoking-related diseases

Your longer-term risks of cancer, lung disease, heart disease and stroke will be significantly reduced, and:

  • after 1 year, risk of heart attack halves compared to a smoker's
  • after 10 years, risk of death from lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker
  • after 15 years, risk of heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked

Better physical health

Every time you smoke a cigarette, your body is flooded with thousands of chemicals, many of which are poisonous.

The day you stop, your body starts clearing itself of all those nasty toxins and the repair process begins.

You'll notice some benefits within days or weeks:

  • your senses of taste and smell improve
  • you start to breathe more easily
  • you have more energy

Other benefits will follow, including:

  • better blood circulation to your heart and muscles, which will make physical activity easier
  • improved lung function, leading to reductions in any cough, wheezing or other breathing problems

How do I quit smoking?

Many people try to quit smoking with willpower alone, but it's much easier to go smoke-free with the right help. There are lots of support options available, try a combination that works for you.


I'll be honest, I'm wary of this, I've heard the stories. However, this is advice from the NHS website:

"There's some confusion and misleading information about vaping, which can make it difficult to work out what's true or not.

"Nicotine vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking. It's also one of the most effective tools for quitting smoking.

"Vaping is not recommended for non-smokers and young people because it is not completely harmless.

"The routines and rituals of smoking can be hard to stop, so vaping can help you gradually let go of these while immediately reducing the health risks of smoking cigarettes."

Stop smoking aids

Stop smoking treatments really help with managing nicotine cravings and other tobacco withdrawal symptoms. They also boost your chances of successfully quitting, especially if you get expert support from your local Stop Smoking Service.

If you have tried stop smoking aids before, it's worth trying again because you may need to try a few to find what's right for you.

Find your local Stop Smoking Service

There's a free local Stop Smoking Service near you. With their professional help, you're three times as likely to quit for good.

Always contact the individual service before attending to check you are eligible for its help.

Most smokers say they want to quit, and latest statistics show more than a third of smokers (36.6%) tried to quit in the last 12 months.

Emeritus Professor Behaviour Scientist at UCL Professor Robert West said: "What is really interesting is just how much of an impact self-efficacy, that sense of self-belief and confidence, has on quitting success.

"That confidence is something we can really help to influence. It really does show the power of the mind – self-belief when combined with other quitting aids such as vapes or NRT effectively equip people in giving up.

"What people considering quitting this Stoptober should also bear in mind is that even if you’ve tried to quit before and not managed it, that doesn’t mean it won’t work this time. You will have learnt something from your previous attempts: think of each quit attempt as a stepping stone to becoming smoke free for life."