Still not stubbed out for good? The news that smoking a pack a day can causes 150 cancer-risking mutations in you lung cells every year should have you reaching to the ashtray for good. Even if you’re a social smoker, now is the time to extinguish your habit.
You might see yourself as a weekend Bogart, lighting up in sunny beer gardens, then snubbing your colleagues huddled by the fire escape, but the government is getting ready to call time on your habit, planning to slash smoking rates to 12.2% by 2022. More crucially, according to Action on Smoking and Health, there will be a smoke-free generation by 2030. Isn’t it time you stubbed-out?
Start your winning streak
Now for the good news: every bit of damage done from smoking can be erased. A man pre-armed by the tips below is fully equipped to fight back against the negative effects. Follow our plan and in six months’ time your body will be back in full fag-free working order.
Pre-empt your temptation
You need to stockpile to stop cravings and start the repair. “Stopping smoking places strain on your adrenal glands, where anti-stress hormones are secreted,” says Dr Sam Christie. “Prepare your body with Siberian ginseng and St John’s wort. Take a tablet of each an hour before you head out.”
Fix your organs
Start undoing the internal damage. Taurine is the single best amino acid to reverse the narrowing of the arteries linked to smoking, according to the British Heart Foundation. Take the supplement once a day for two months (£6.15 for 50 hollandandbarrett.com).
Get your looks back
Once you’ve halted the assault on your cells, start to repair the damage. Smoke hits skin’s collagen and elastin, while constricting bloodflow to the tiny capillaries. Reverse these effects with proanthocyanidin, a phytonutrient (£18.95 for 60, naturesbest.co.uk). Take two a day for a month.
Set your diet to repair mode
What you eat can wipe the smoking slate clean. “Polyphenols repair small cell clusters like alveoli and bronchioles in the lungs,” says nutritional scientist Caroline Farrell. They are abundant in kale and sprouts. “Take niacin too. Its composition is similar to nicotine. The vitamin attaches to your receptors and reduces the addiction naturally.”
Break in case of emergency
Still reaching for the packet? Try hypnosis. A University of Washington study revealed a 90.6% success rate of subjects putting it out for good, while the University of Texas recorded 81%. Find a hypnotist in your area at accreditedhypnotherapy.co.uk.
Long-term quitter always win. To start improving, you need to see things in real time. You’re a year away from a body that’s as good as new.
6 hours (after quitting) – more oxygen capacity
Hours after your last cigarette, levels of carbon monoxide – a poisonous gas that impairs the body’s ability to transport oxygen – will decline, and your heart won’t have to work as hard to pump oxygen around your body. Action on Smoking and Health
6 weeks – an end to the smoker’s cough
“Within two to 12 weeks your lung function will improve by up to 30%. After that, coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decrease. Cilia (tiny hairs) regrow in the lungs, increasing their ability to clean themselves, and overall energy levels will increase too.” Dr Sean McGee, medical biologist
3 months – better sexual performance
75% of smokers with erectile dysfunction swing back into action three months after giving up smoking. Those who don’t quit suffer testosterone depletion and lack of follicle simulation, leading to baldness. The Journal of Sexual Medicine
9 months – decreased heart danger
In less than a year, your risk of having a coronary will be half that of a regular smoker. Your probability of contracting heart disease will reduce further the healthier your lungs become. The Lancet
12 months – more money, fewer problems
Of course, there’s the financial reward. With the average price for a pack of 20 cigarettes hovering around the £8 mark – up by nearly 50% over the past five years – even just giving up a packet a week would save you over £400 a year.
Gone! – like it never happened
Long-term benefits of dropping the fags are immense: those who stop smoking by 35 lower their chances of an early death to the same level as someone who has never smoked.