Quit smoking – your heart will love you for it

By June Shannon Heart News   |   2nd Mar 2022

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your heart health

Today (Wednesday 02 March) is National No Smoking Day. Did you know that the benefits of quitting smoking happen almost immediately, just 20 minutes after you quit that last cigarette your blood pressure and pulse return to normal, and your risk of heart attack begins to fall just one day later?

Once you stop smoking, your mental and physical health improves immediately. After one year, your risk of having a heart attack is cut to half that of a smoker. A smoker is twice as likely to suffer a heart attack as a non-smoker.

Smokers who wish to quit do not need to do it alone there are a range of supports available.

Quit.ie is Ireland’s dedicated smoking cessation service and smokers can give themselves the best chance of stopping by following the plan, which sees thousands of people successfully give up each year.

The HSE QUIT service provides personalised, free support by phone, email, SMS, and live chat. Smokers can free call 1800 201 203 or visit www.QUIT.ie for stop smoking tips and resources, a free QUIT Kit, and to create a QUIT Plan. Peer-to-peer support is available on the QUIT Facebook Page www.facebook.com/HSEQUIT or on Twitter @HSEQuitTeam  #TheLastStop #QuitandWin.

Once you stop smoking, your mental and physical health improves immediately.

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Recent research shows 29 per cent of current smokers are either trying to quit or are actively planning to do so. If you quit smoking for 28 days, you are five times more likely to quit for good.

According to the 2021 Healthy Ireland Survey, 18 per cent  of the population are current smokers, a decline of five percentage points since the first wave of this survey in 2015 and equivalent to smoking levels in seen in 2018.

The survey also found that 44 per cent of all who smoked in the last 12 months have attempted to quit and 27 per cent of those who attempted to quit in the last 12 months were successful.

If you quit smoking for 28 days, you are five times more likely to quit for good.

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The Irish Heart Foundation’s seven tips for quitting smoking:

Change your routine: If you are used to a cigarette after a meal, try chewing some sugar-free chewing gum or go out for a walk and some fresh air.

Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake: When you stop smoking, caffeine and alcohol will affect you more than when you were a smoker.

Learn to deal with cravings: Some people experience withdrawal symptoms when they quit smoking. These symptoms are a positive sign because your body is getting rid of the toxins and poisons from smoking. These cravings can be difficult to deal with which is why many people benefit by getting help and may require smoking cessation tools to improve their chance of success.

Get regular exercise: Now that you have quit, getting more active will help you deal with your cravings. Aim to be active for at least 30 minutes five days a week.

Make your home and car smoke-free

Choose healthy snacks: Some people find they eat more when they quit. Try to snack only when you are hungry and choose healthy snacks such as fruit, natural yoghurt, or plain popcorn.

Avoid substituting cigarettes for sweets, cakes, and biscuits: Eating three meals a day is good for your health and eating breakfast has been shown to help with quitting smoking.

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cigarettes heart attack heart disease quit smoking stroke Tips to help quit smoking tobacco

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