Around 10 million of British people smoke, that’s almost one person 1 in every 6. In 2007 smoking fell to its lowest ever recorded level: 21% of over 16 year olds class themselves as being smokers. Whilst overall numbers of people who smoke in the UK has fallen dramatically over the past 50 years, far too many people still light up everyday. The good news is that 66% of smokers wished they could give up, and list health concerns as their main reason for wanting to quit smoking. Other reasons for quitting include the high cost of addiction, the effects of passive smoking on children, the smell, and pressure from a partner or family member to give up.
Of the 66% of people who want to arreter de fumer , 48% have tried at least once to kick the habit, but could not overcome their cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Despite high failure rates the preferred method of quitting is still nicotine replacement therapy (54%). Many people choose this method as it is cheaper than other options, such as addiction therapy, and is the one that is most frequently advertised on television, in magazines and online. 25% percent of people try quitting with no help whatsoever and find the withdrawal symptoms too much to cope with. Nicotine withdrawal is in fact the most difficult obstacle for a quitter to overcome and is because nicotine is a powerfully addictive drug. When you try to wean yourself off nicotine it is likely you will suffer some of the following effects: anger, headaches, anxiety, irritability, insomnia and increased appetite. Less than 10% of smokers know their doctor can prescribe prescription medications to help them. Zyban and Champix are two prescription medications available to help you break the habit. Zyban was originally produced as an anti-depressant, but during clinical trials was found to be much more successful as a quit smoking aid. Zyban exists in pill for and is taken twice a day. Currently the medicine is only available on prescription from a doctor and cannot be bought over the counter. Champix similarly can only be obtained on prescription from a doctor. This treatment is particularly good for helping the quitter overcome nicotine withdrawal as it masks the symptoms. Prescription medications increase the likelihood of quitting forever by 53%.
Encouraging smokers to quit must be a National Health plan, and proper advertising of new and better treatments should be at the forefront of the campaign. More should be done to make smokers aware of their options, rather than continuing to scare them into quitting using graphic images and negative information. Lung cancer statistics alone are not enough, as the will to quit is there, but the tools available must be better implemented.