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Quit smoking and reduce your risk of 16 types of cancer

Smokers are being encouraged to quit this No Smoking Day (March 13) to feel the benefits of better health and to reduce the risk of 16 types of cancer.

Fresh is running the Quit 16 campaign featuring the stories of ex-smokers Maggie Bratton and Tony Osbourne in the run up to No Smoking Day to highlight that smoking causes 16 types of cancer but that quitting reduces the risks. Visit the Quit16 website to get started.

Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh, said: “There are so many good reasons to quit smoking and it is too easy to put it off to another day. No Smoking Day is a perfect time to quit when thousands of other people will be stopping as well.

“Whether you are quitting on your own, with friends, work colleagues or your partner, stopping is the best thing you can do for your health, cutting your risks of heart disease, COPD and cancer. Most people who quit feel much better and save hundreds if not thousands of pounds a year.

“If you are just getting started or haven’t tried to quit for a while, there are more options than ever before - from electronic cigarettes, to stop smoking medicines, and stop smoking services. You can also ask your GP surgery or local pharmacies about help to quit.”

Dr Tony Branson, from the Northern Cancer Alliance, said: “Every cigarette pumps harmful chemicals into the lungs, and around the body. Many of these are known to damage DNA, stick to cells, harm cell repair and cause cancer.

“Although treatment for many cancers has improved enormously, many patients find it hard to speak clearly, swallow, eat or function normally again.

“Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your health and it is crucial to stop for good as soon as possible.”

For tips, details of local stop smoking support and free tools to quit, visit the Quit16 website. Or ask at your GP surgery or local pharmacy.

Want to quit? Here's 12 top tips to help!

If you smoke, the chances are you’ve tried to quit before. But here are some important tips to think about to help get you on your way:

1. Willpower is vital – but sometimes it’s not enough. You’re much more likely to succeed if you combine your determination to quit with stop smoking service support together with stop smoking aids.

2. Even if you’ve struggled to quit before, try to make at least one quit attempt a year until you manage to stop for good, whether that’s for Stoptober, No Smoking Day, or Stoptober or a time that suits you. If you try at least once a year, you greatly improve your chances of quitting for good.

3. Consider using Nicotine Replacement Therapy as a quit aid – there are many different types of this now. The health problems of smoking are caused by other components in tobacco smoke, not by the nicotine.

4. If you’ve struggled to quit with quitting aids previously, then why not try switching completely to an e-cigarette/ vaping? E-cigs do not contain tobacco and evidence suggests the vapour carries a fraction of the health risks from smoking. Visit a reputable vaping shop (eg one affiliated to the Independent Vape Trade Association) to get advice on the type of product that will help you quit.

5. Your chances of quitting are doubled if using a stop smoking medicine prescribed by a GP, pharmacist or other health professional. Quitting smoking can cause nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Stop smoking medicines can help you manage these withdrawal symptoms and significantly boost your chance of quitting for good.

6. Local Stop Smoking Services (where available) provide expert advice, support and encouragement to help you stop smoking for good. Combining quit aids with expert support makes it much more likely you’ll stop smoking successfully.

7. The NHS Smokefree website has lots of free support to help you stop for good. Public Health England’s Stoptober campaign is offering a free online ‘Personal Quit Plan’ to help smokers find the right stop smoking support for them. The online plan asks a number of questions and provides smokers with a suggested combination of support based on their level of tobacco dependency and what quitting support they have used previously.

8. Some people do manage to quit first time – but for many it takes more than one attempt. Don’t get disheartened if you didn’t quit first time, and don’t tell yourself you can’t do it. You can come back more determined and better prepared next time.

9. Think of your health. Chemicals in tobacco smoke enter our blood stream and can then affect the entire body. This is why smoking causes so many diseases, including 16 types of cancer, heart disease and various lung diseases.

10. Get support from family and friends – their support can go a long way. If your partner smokes, why not quit together?

11. Smoking is expensive and you might be surprised at how it all adds up. On average, smokers can expect to save £1600-£2400 a year simply by quitting.

12. Research suggests the best chance of success is by stopping abruptly rather than by trying to cut down gradually. Many smokers try to cut down first, but stopping completely creates a clear break.