New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows there are still around 2.8 million smokers in Australia. Many of those people would love to give up if they could.
Dr Laura Twyman is the Tobacco Cessation Program Lead at Cancer Council NSW. ‘Throughout January, we expect to see a significant spike in the number of people going to our website for information and support on quitting smoking,’ she said.
‘We know that many people will be attempting to quit smoking as a New Year’s resolution and might be unsure how or where to look for support, so we want our communities to know we are here.’
Dr Twyman notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone, ‘and for some people who smoke, the stress of the pandemic, social distancing and impacts on employment and people’s livelihoods may have been a barrier to quitting smoking.’
She wishes to emphasise though, that ‘No matter how long you have smoked, quitting will benefit your health in both the immediate and long-term future.’
Dr Twyman says that after quitting, ‘Almost straight away your health will start to improve, and your risk of cancer and other diseases will reduce. It will also benefit the health of your family and friends (by reducing their exposure to second-hand smoke) and save you money.
‘The younger you are, and the sooner you stop, the better, but it’s never too late to stop smoking. Even people who quit after the age of sixty can reduce their chance of getting cancer and other diseases. We can help point you in the direction of the support you need.’
She says many people who smoke need to practice quitting several times before they manage to give up completely.
‘Remember lapses are normal but keep trying and don’t give up! We believe in you! Practice helps you plan what to do the next time you get an urge to smoke.
‘The first few days of quitting can be the hardest, as you may feel tired, irritable and tense, but after about one to two weeks most of these symptoms will disappear,’ said Dr Twyman.
Go it alone or get help?
Many people quit smoking on their own without support, but extra support can increase your chances of quitting successfully.
Dr Twyman said, ‘If you wish to use quit support, choose methods that are safe and suit you. People who use a combination of pharmacological support (like nicotine replacement therapy or other stop smoking medications) with counselling support (like the NSW Quitline) are most likely to succeed in quitting.
‘If you want to use nicotine replacement therapy, combining the patches for all day support with any of the oral options (like the gum or mouth spray) is the best way to go,’ she suggests.
‘Ring the NSW Quitline on 13 78 48 for free and confidential telephone information and advice to help you quit and stay quit.
‘There is an online form to request Quitline call you back. You can also talk to your GP about prescription medications on offer.’
Dr Twyman suggests that people who wish to quit smoking stick with the tried and tested approaches, ‘and be very wary of methods or products that seem too good to be true; our website has lots of information on approved quit methods.
‘No matter what method you use, getting the support you need will improve your chances of success,’ said Dr Twyman. ‘Remember you’re doing a great thing for your health and your loved ones. If you have any questions or concerns, call our Information and Support line on 13 11 20.’
Good luck, take care and all the best for 2022.