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Tuesday, December 29, 1998 Published at 18:03 GMT


Health

Help for New Year's quitters

New Year is a popular time to stop smoking

Those smokers who lack the resolve to keep to their New Year's pledge to stop smoking can get support in the form of a free telephone helpline.

Quitline, run by Quit, a charity that aims to help smokers give up the habit, expects to be inundated over the New Year.

This is the time when the most smokers decide to give up or - if they have tried and failed before - to have another attempt.

Around 150 counsellors will be on hand to help smokers who may be suffering withdrawal symptoms, headaches and sore throats, as well as those who are looking for advice on how to give up and remain a non-smoker.

'Here to help'

Quitline counsellor John Lalley said: "Quit is not anti-smoking we are here to help those who want to quit.

"New Year is a useful time for people to think about making changes in their life for the better.

"By quitting smoking you are not only taking control of your life, you are hopefully extending it."

Around 110,000 people in the UK die prematurely each year due to smoking, with lung cancer, bronchitis and heart disease the most common reasons.

Half of all smokers are killed by their habit, and one in four dies in middle age.

The NHS is estimated to spend £610m a year on treating smoking-related diseases.

Smoking is the major cause of lung cancer, coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

It is a crucial factor in the development of cancer of the mouth, larynx and upper respiratory tract, it is associated with cervical cancer, and is thought to be responsible for some cases of kidney, stomach and pancreas disease.

Advice

Quit offers the following advice to would-be ex-smokers:

  • Making a definite commitment to give up by setting a time and date;
  • Keep busy to help take your mind off cigarettes and throw away ashtrays, lighters and unopened cigarette packets;
  • Drink more fluids and keep a glass of water or juice nearby;
  • Try to boost morale by becoming more active - walk instead of using the bus or car, or climb the stairs instead of taking the lift;
  • Avoid situations where there is a temptation to smoke and do not slip back into bad habits to overcome a crisis or celebrate good news.
It also recommends positive thinking, and using the money that would otherwise have been spent on cigarettes on treats.

However, it adds that those in the process of giving up should avoid snacking on fatty foods and take one day at a time.

The Quitline is open daily from 9am to 11pm on 0800 0022 00.



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