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Stopping smoking is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health. Help is available from your GP practice, stop smoking clinics and local pharmacy. Local services to help you stop smoking

What are your reasons for stopping?

You may find it helps to focus on what's really important to YOU. It may be

       better short-term health. Blood pressure and heart rate drop immediately, and circulation improves. Usually the lung cleansing mechanism also starts to recover, and breathing improves.

       a feeling of energy or well-being.

       less worry about long-term health risks. In general, risk of heart attack halves in about a year, and risk of cancer is greatly reduced within a few years of stopping smoking. Perhaps ask your doctor about the effects of smoking on your own health.

       feeling less stressed, and more in control, after the initial effort of stopping.

       social benefits. Less worry about whether you can smoke with friends or in public, and about the health risks for others

       more money.

       pregnancy. You'll give your baby the best chance of a healthy start.

What are your plans for stopping?

You may want to think about:

       the times or situations in which you usually smoke, and how you can changes or avoid them. It may be useful to keep a diary of when you smoke, to see if you have particular "cigarette triggers".

       your stopping date. Setting a date improves your chance of success

       how you can deal with wanting a cigarette.

       how you can deal with any unpleasant feelings, such as anger or sadness.

How will you deal with problems?

Some smokers find stopping easier than they thought. But you may experience unpleasant effects. Many of these occur because your body is now free of nicotine - they shouldn't last long. You may experience craving for tobacco. You could:

       avoid your "cigarette trigger" if possible.

       remind yourself of your reasons for stopping.

       distract yourself. Often the craving will lessen if you delay having a smoke.

       breathe deeply. Deep, slow breathing is calming, especially if you relax your tummy so that your lungs can expand fully.

       try other relaxation techniques. There are lots of good self-help books and tapes suggesting different techniques.

       give your mouth a treat. Slowly sip cold water or juice, or gently brush your teeth.

       get some exercise. This offers a distraction, and may lift your mood.

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